Ag interests request backtrack from amendment 

click to enlarge ConstitutionStateofIndiana.jpg


By Halie Solea

The author of a constitutional amendment to protect hunting and fishing has introduced the proposal this year without language that would protect farmers as well.

Sen. Brent Steele's original amendment passed its first round in 2011 but needed approval this year to go on the ballot for ratification by voters. But now - with new language - the process will start over.

Steele, R-Bedford, said on Jan. 13 that the agricultural community asked him to remove the language that was meant to ensure livestock farming could continue, despite opposition from animal rights groups.

"I will say that it was not my idea," Steele said. "I told them that they've got to get some guts. I told them to grow some horns because they're going to get run around the pasture and there's no language that's going to mollify their opposition. Their opposition will not be happy with any language."

Steele acknowledged his original language was controversial among environmentalists and animal rights groups, who feared it would prevent future laws meant to protect the land or livestock.

But Steele said he believes that "if I was willing to fight and the legislature was willing to put our necks on the line and take the heat" then the language of the amendment should have been fine.

"But," he continued, "there are some agriculture producers in this state that don't have any guts and begged me to pull (the farming component). I think it was a mistake, but I pulled it."

With farming left out of the constitutional amendment, Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, introduced Senate Bill 186, which would put the farm protections into state law instead. The goal is to give the courts guidance to interpret state laws to be sympathetic toward farming interests.

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passed SB 186 on Jan 13.

Before the vote, Kim Ferraro, staff attorney of the Hoosier Environmental Council, spoke against the bill. Ferraro said it would favor the agriculture industry and harm the environment as well as threaten the rights of personal property owners.

"Although HEC hasn't fully analyzed the likely impacts of enshrining hunting and fishing rights into Indiana's constitution - rights that current SJR 9 would create, we can say, generally, that any constitutionally-protected activity is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for state and local policymakers to subsequently control," Ferraro said in a previous press release.

Halie Solea is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

Speaking of...

  • Turner loses leadership post
  • Turner loses leadership post

    State Rep. Eric Turner will lose his leadership post during the next legislative session after failing to disclose a financial interest in a debate he tried to influence during the last legislative session.
    • Aug 30, 2014
  • Ending Indiana energy efficiency program: "shortsighted"
  • Ending Indiana energy efficiency program: "shortsighted"

    A new report supports the argument that ending the Energizing Indiana program will cost ratepayers more money in the long run.
    • Aug 20, 2014
  • More »

Latest in Politics

  • Election 2014
  • Election 2014

    Making the case to get out the vote
    • Oct 29, 2014
  • Death penalty option for decaptitation cases
  • Death penalty option for decaptitation cases

    Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, told constituents Monday he plans to pursue a bill to ensure defendants convicted of decapitation can be punished with execution or life without parole.
    • Oct 28, 2014
  • Pence won't cancel New England campaign trip
  • Pence won't cancel New England campaign trip

    Democrats are calling on Gov. Mike Pence to cancel a trip to New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary, and to release documents about his decision not to apply for a federal pre-kindergarten grant.
    • Oct 22, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Feedback

Recent Comments


More by The Statehouse File

  • Pence won't cancel New England campaign trip

    Democrats are calling on Gov. Mike Pence to cancel a trip to New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary, and to release documents about his decision not to apply for a federal pre-kindergarten grant.
    • Oct 22, 2014
  • Legislators need stricter disclosure rules

    Legislators need to be more transparent about conflicts of interest and should never be lobbying privately or publicly for issues that could impact their finances, an open-government advocate said Monday.
    • Oct 21, 2014
  • More »

© 2014 NUVO | Website powered by Foundation