EDITORIAL: Job hunters need most attention

2013-02-12T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Job hunters need most attention nwitimes.com
February 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The proposed constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt, fish and farm isn't necessary.

Senate Joint Resolution 7, the proposed constitutional amendment, is well on its way through the legislative process. Having passed the Senate, it is now before the House, where state Rep. Don Lehe, R-Brookston, has signed on as its sponsor.

The proposed amendment says, "The people have a right to hunt, fish, harvest game or engage in the agricultural production of meat, fish, poultry or dairy products ... subject only to laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly."

State Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, sponsored the proposed amendment, accusing "radical" groups like the Humane Society of the United States of secretly plotting to remove meat from Hoosier meals.

It is hard to imagine anything short of economic circumstances or personal preferences removing meat from the table.

There's no real threat to any of these long-standing practices in Indiana. So why propose this constitutional amendment?

There are reasons for municipalities to restrict farming within city limits. Zoning restricts land uses to protect residents from not just industries belching smoke next to their homes but also livestock's byproducts emitting noxious odors as well.

Approving this constitutional amendment would muddy the waters, requiring a court challenge to see whether zoning to restrict agriculture or hunting near homes, schools and businesses should be allowed.

The proposed amendment was approved by the General Assembly in 2011. If approved this year, it would be put before the voters in the November 2014 general election.

This constitutional amendment to protect Hoosiers from a threat that is dubious, or distant at best, isn't needed.

Instead, the Indiana General Assembly should focus its attention on policies and practices that lead to the creation of jobs for Hoosiers. The people hunting for jobs are the ones who need immediate assistance.

Face the economic threat, not imaginary ones.

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