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I had forgot abou thtis till Gordo brought it up in another thread.Hunting amendment goes to statewide referendumBy JENNY PRICEAssociated PressMADISON - Wisconsin residents would be guaranteed the right to hunt and fish under a proposed constitutional amendment the Legislature approved Tuesday.The vote puts the amendment to a statewide referendum scheduled for the April 1 general election to let residents vote it up or down. If approved, the amendment would take effect once the election results were certified.Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, predicted the amendment would pass overwhelmingly. He said more than 4,000 state residents signed petitions supporting the idea.At least seven states, including Minnesota, have constitutional protections for the right to hunt, fish and trap, said Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, one of amendment's strongest backers."This is a piece of legislation that protects future generations," Zien said.The proposed amendment states: "The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law."Amendments to the state Constitution must be approved by two consecutive Legislatures and by voters in a statewide referendum before taking effect. Both houses of the Legislature passed the proposed amendment last year.The state Assembly voted 94-3 Tuesday in favor of the amendment, sending it to the Senate, which approved the resolution 30-1.Rep. Luther Olsen, R-Berlin, one of three to vote against the measure, said he was concerned about an amendment that suggests rights can be regulated."I don't think that's what the framers of our constitution had in mind," he said. "I don't think rights are things we have to buy a license for."Madison Democrats Mark Pocan and Terese Berceau also voted against the resolution in the Assembly.Supporters, who include Gov. Jim Doyle, argue the amendment is needed because about 200 animal rights groups want to chip away at people's rights to hunt, fish and trap, threatening a key piece of the state's rural heritage.They say constitutional protection is necessary because laws protecting hunting are too vulnerable to politics and social change."The animal rights activists in this state are a powerful unit," Zien said.Statewide hearings on the proposal drew emotional testimony from hunters who said they feared their children and grandchildren would not be able to continue the tradition of hunting and other outdoor recreation.Mike Skewes, a founding member of the Sporting Heritage Coalition, which backed the amendment, said Tuesday that it would "guarantee that current and future generations of sportsmen and women will continue our cherished traditions."John Wieneke, secretary of the Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Cranes and Doves, which successfully sued last year to block a proposed mourning dove hunt, said such a change to the state Constitution would not affect the outcome of its case or similar lawsuits.He also questioned the need for the amendment."Given the status of our state budget and the deficit the state is facing, to be wasting time on a frivolous matter like this is totally ridiculous," he said. They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.
 
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