Friday, October 3, 2008

Hello again, everybody! The Oklahoma Constitution guarantees “all political power is inherent in the people.”

One of the clearest expressions of that power is that the sole ability to amend the state Constitution rests with voters. The Legislature can only propose constitutional amendments; the ultimate decision to ratify constitutional amendments rests with you. This is an important right we as Oklahomans have.

On Election Day – just four weeks away – you will have the ability to pass judgment on a proposed constitutional amendment that I strongly supported when it was before the Senate. In fact, I was a co-sponsor of the proposal.

State Question 742 would guarantee one of the rights we as Oklahomans cherish the most: the right to hunt, fish, trap and take game. The wording you will see on the November 4 ballot is:

“This measure adds a new section to the State Constitution. It adds Section 36 to Article 2. It gives all people of this state the right to hunt, trap, fish and take game and fish. Such activities would be subject to reasonable regulation. It allows the Wildlife Conservation Commission to approve methods and procedures for hunting, trapping, fishing and taking of game and fish. It allows for taking game and fish by traditional means. It makes hunting, fishing, and trapping the preferred means to manage certain game and fish. The new law will not affect existing laws relating to property rights.”

Some have suggested this constitutional amendment is unnecessary. After all, who would ever try to prevent us from hunting and fishing? The truth is there are groups out there that have it as their mission to take away this cherished right.

One of the most vocal is a group called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA. This group is clear in its stand on hunting and fishing: PETA would, if given even the slightest opening, destroy this right in a heartbeat. On the PETA website, the group even compares those of us who hunt and fish to Jack the Ripper.

We have an extraordinary chance to preserve this right and send a message to extremists who would strip it from us. If we overwhelmingly pass State Question 742, it would send a strong message that we can and we will preserve this important sporting right.

If you are registered to vote, please be sure to go to the polls on Election Day and let your voice be heard – on this issue and several others. If you are not registered, you have until Friday, October 10 to get registered at any county election board or tag agency. Every eligible Oklahoman should register and vote.

And, I ask you all to join with me by voting “Yes” on State Question 742. Together, we can protect our right to hunt and fish, for our generation and those yet unborn.

Thanks again for reading “The Senate Minute.” Have a great week, and may God bless you all.

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