JEFFERSON CITY -- The Missouri House of Representatives last week took an important step to preserve a vital piece of Missouri's Heritage. The House gave its approval to a resolution sponsored by Rep. Mike Dethrow, R-Alton, that would give the people of Missouri the opportunity to vote to protect the state's rich tradition of hunting, fishing and forestry.
This proposed constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote on initiative proposals relating to the opportunity to harvest bird, fish, game, wildlife or forestry resources. The intent of the legislation is to protect Missouri's outdoor heritage from the passage of bad laws by initiative petition that would have damaging and unintended consequences on conservations matters, Dethrow.
"This proactive, preemptive piece of legislation is the best way to stand up for our heritage and our hunting rights," said Dethrow.
"This would give us the ability to stand up to the anti-hunting and animal rights groups who want to curtail or ban hunting, fishing and forestry activities. It is a common sense measure that would give us some measure of protection and help keep the management of our state's fish, forestry and wildlife resources in the hands of the Missouri Department of Conservation."
States around the nation have faced similar issues in the past. The state of Massachusetts saw a ban on beaver trapping lead to an overpopulation of beavers. The state of California passed a ban on mountain lion hunting despite the fact the issue failed in all regions aside from the urban areas where there were no mountain lion problems.
"When it comes to the management of our state's fisheries, wildlife and forestry resources, I prefer to err on the side of sound science and not on the side of emotion," said Dethrow. "A simple majority vote allows for emotion to carry the day and takes the power out of the hands of conservation professionals who know best how to manage these resources. For that reason I hope we can protect our heritage by sending this resolution to a vote of the people for their approval."
HJR 35 now moves to the Senate for consideration.
If approved by both chambers and the governor, the resolution would then be put before a vote of the people.