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Wildlife:
constitutional rights; game and fish

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: HCR2037
Sponsor: JP Weiers, Adams, Barnes, et al
Legislative Session: 2008 Legislative Session

It refers to the ballot a constitutional amendment that will have a significant and negative impact on wildlife and wildlife management in Arizona.  It will limit the authority of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to regulate and manage wildlife consistent with its duties and will limit the rights of citizens to enact legislation by initiative.  Furthermore, it will make science take a back seat on decisions relative to bag limits, whether or not there is hunting in a particulate area, or whether hunting must be suspended in order to facilitate species recovery. 

This measure is opposed by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and several hunting groups as well. 

Status

 

Action Needed

Please take time to thank the legislators who voted no on this.  They include Representatives Ableser, Bradley, Brown, Cajero Bedford, Chad Campbell, Cloves Campbell, Chabin, DeSimone, Farley, Gallardo, Garcia, Hershberger, Lopes, Lopez, Lujan, McGuire, Meza, Miranda, Pancrazi, Prezelski, Reagan, Rios, Schapira, Sinema, Thrasher, Tom, Ulmer, and Young Wright.

 

Also, it is likely to come back as a strike everything amendment, so stay tuned on that.

 

To contact your House members click on HOUSE and then click on their names to send them an email.  You can also find their phone numbers when you click above.

More information

To read the bill or see a more detailed status click on HCR2037.

Contact

Sandy Bahr at (602) 253-8633 or sandy.bahr@sierraclub.org

Background

The Sierra Club is not anti-hunting, many of our members hunt and fish, and we have frequently worked with hunters and anglers to advance conservation.  Our policy says “Wildlife and native plant management should emphasize maintenance and restoration of healthy, viable native plant and animal populations, their habitats, and ecological processes. Acceptable management approaches include both regulated periodic hunting and fishing when based on sufficient scientifically valid biological data and when consistent with all other management purposes and when necessary total protection of particular species or populations. Because national parks are set aside for the preservation of natural landscapes and wildlife, the Sierra Club is opposed to sport hunting in national parks.”

HCR2037 undermines the commission system which was promoted by hunters and anglers in order to limit the impacts of day-to-day politics on wildlife management.  Unlike most state agencies, it is the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, not the Governor that hires and fires the director of the agency.  The commissioners are appointed to five year staggered terms by the Governor and are confirmed by the Senate.  The commissioners set bag limits, establish policies for protecting habitat, and numerous other actions relating to wildlife management.  Conservation interests have worked hard to maintain the commission system relative to Arizona’s wildlife.  HCR2037 would undermine that.

HCR2037 also undermines the rights of the people to initiate law, and at a minimum, creates inconsistent provisions regarding initiative rights within the Arizona Constitution.  The Sierra Club has been and continues to be supportive of the people’s rights to initiate or to stop laws via the initiative and referendum process.  The authors of the Arizona Constitution thought that the initiative and referendum process provided citizens with both a check on the legislative branch and on the then widespread corruption of big business and monopolies.  They thought it was critical that the citizens have an equal opportunity to create laws directly via the initiative process.  We agree with that.

In 2000, the Legislature referred a measure to try to limit those rights.  It would have required a two-thirds vote on any wildlife measure.  The voters rejected that proposal overwhelmingly (62-38).

     
     

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