Little Known Constitutional Amendment Proposal on Ballot - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Little Known Constitutional Amendment Proposal on Ballot

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by Jeff Tang

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Does the state need a constitutional amendment guaranteeing sportsmen the right to hunt and fish? That's one of the issues voters will have to decide in November's election.

It's been a major effort by the hunting and fishing community. They have gone through the legislative process, and now voters will make a decision on the amendment in November.

Supporters said the amendment will protect a $2.4 billion a year business in the state, one that creates 30 thousand jobs in Tennessee. 

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation said much of the revenue generated by hunting and fishing goes towards conservation efforts.  They said the amendment will balance the state legislature's right to change and limit hunting seasons.

So far, no organization in the state has come forward opposing the amendment, but its biggest obstacle might be a lack of exposure. Most voters simply don't know it exists, and if they choose not to vote on the issue, it essentially counts as a no. 

That's because half of the state's voters in next month's elections must vote "yes" to put it into law. Though there is no direct threat to hunting or fishing in the state, supporters of the amendment said it is necessary to ensure that future sportsmen have those rights. 

"Do you want to buy the alarm when there's someone in your home? No. You buy it first, get it in place, and it protects you," said Michael Butler, CEO of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

Fourteen other states have similar laws in their constitutions, and four other states will also vote on similar measures next month.

Email: jtang@newschannel5.com

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