Georgia has it, among 23 states, including all states in the southeast, except for Florida.
Looks like it’s coming to Florida: a state constitutional amendment for a Right to Hunt and Fish. Identical bills are speeding through the state House and Senate towards getting this amendment on the 2024 ballot.
Ballotpedia, 23 states have Right to Hunt and Fish as of November 2020
And what good is a Right to Hunt and Fish without clean water for the fish and wildlife? Floridians, please sign the petition for Right to Clean Water, also intended for the 2024 ballot.
Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida, Tampa Bay Times, March 27, 2023, updated March 29, Hunting, fishing could be enshrined in Florida Constitution under proposal: If approved, the proposal could be on the November 2024 ballot.
TALLAHASSEE — Florida voters next year could decide whether to enshrine a right to hunt and fish in the state Constitution.
House and Senate panels Monday began moving forward with a proposed constitutional amendment that says, in part, hunting and fishing “shall be preserved forever as a public right and preferred means of responsibly managing and controlling fish and wildlife.”
The proposal, if approved by the Legislature, would go on the November 2024 ballot. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee voted 8-1 on Monday to approve the Senate version (SJR 1234), while the House Agriculture, Conservation & Resiliency Subcommittee voted unanimously to approve the House version (HJR 1157).
House sponsor Lauren Melo, R-Naples, said 23 other states, including all other states in the Southeast, have passed similar rights. Meanwhile, Senate sponsor Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, said some states have seen efforts to ban hunting and fishing.
Supporters of the proposed Florida constitutional amendment pointed to issues such as the role hunting and fishing play in managing wildlife.
“You take away the thoughtful and measured impacts of hunting and fishing, you’re going to get nature way out of balance,” Senate Majority Leader Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, said.
But Sen. Tina Polsky, a Boca Raton Democrat who cast the only dissenting vote, questioned the need for a constitutional amendment and pointed to repeated efforts in recent years by Republicans to limit changes to the Constitution. She called hunting and fishing “absolutely sacrosanct” in Florida and said the hunting and fishing industry isn’t in jeopardy in Florida or other states.
“There’s no way we wouldn’t have both of these sports going on in the state of Florida,” Polsky said. “It would be like preserving tennis. I mean, seriously, I don’t understand why we’d be doing this. The Constitution is sacred.”
But Sen. Jonathan Martin, R-Fort Myers, said he looks forward to “protecting the right to fish and hunt for myself and for my kids and maybe someday grandkids.”
“It might seem like it’s useless right now, but there’s a whole lot of things we can take a step back 10 years ago, and say, ‘Oh, why would we need to ever have a law or a constitutional amendment to do this?’ And there’s no reason to keep something good from the Constitution just because we may not need to use it for a couple years,” Martin said.
The bill received backing from several outdoors groups and the International Order of T. Roosevelt, an organization that backs such proposals nationally. Luke Hilgemann, the organization’s executive director, told the Senate committee that “hunting, fishing is conservation in America.”
Text of the Bills
This is the text of CS/SJR 1234: Hunting and Fishing. It differs from HJR 1157 only in that one says Senate and the other says House.
1 Senate Joint Resolution
2 A joint resolution proposing the creation of Section
3 28 of Article I of the State Constitution to preserve
4 forever fishing, hunting, and the taking of fish and
5 wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods,
6 as a public right and preferred means of managing and
7 controlling fish and wildlife and providing
8 construction regarding such right.
10 Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
12 That the following creation of Section 28 of Article I of
13 the State Constitution is agreed to and shall be submitted to
14 the electors of this state for approval or rejection at the next
15 general election or at an earlier special election specifically
16 authorized by law for that purpose:
17 ARTICLE I
18 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
19 SECTION 28. Fishing, hunting, and the taking of fish and
20 wildlife.—Fishing, hunting, and the taking of fish and wildlife,
21 including by the use of traditional methods, shall be preserved
22 forever as a public right and preferred means of responsibly
23 managing and controlling fish and wildlife. This section does
24 not limit the authority granted to the Fish and Wildlife
25 Conservation Commission under Section 9 of Article IV.
26 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be
27 placed on the ballot:
28 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
29 ARTICLE I, SECTION 28
30 RIGHT TO FISH AND HUNT.—Proposing an amendment to the State
31 Constitution to preserve forever fishing and hunting, including
32 by the use of traditional methods, as a public right and
33 preferred means of responsibly managing and controlling fish and
34 wildlife. Specifies that the amendment does not limit the
35 authority granted to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation
36 Commission under Section 9 of Article IV of the State
CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions. Florida Senate – 2023
Thanks to WWALS Development Director Veronica Oakler for spotting this story.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!