2017 Montana Legislature

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SENATE BILL NO. 236

INTRODUCED BY J. FIELDER, N. BALLANCE, D. BARTEL, B. BEARD, S. BERGLEE, M. BLASDEL, B. BROWN, E. BUTTREY, P. CONNELL, M. CUFFE, A. DOANE, R. EHLI, K. FLYNN, T. GAUTHIER, C. GLIMM, B. GRUBBS, S. GUNDERSON, B. HAMLETT, J. HINKLE, M. HOPKINS, D. HOWARD, D. JONES, L. JONES, D. KARY, B. KEENAN, J. KNOKEY, D. LENZ, D. LOGE, F. MANDEVILLE, T. MANZELLA, W. MCKAMEY, M. NOLAND, A. OLSZEWSKI, R. OSMUNDSON, A. REDFIELD, K. REGIER, M. REGIER, T. RICHMOND, S. SALES, J. SMALL, C. SMITH, F. SMITH, N. SWANDAL, R. TEMPEL, F. THOMAS, B. TSCHIDA, C. VINCENT, G. VUCKOVICH, K. WAGONER, K. WHITE, J. WINDY BOY, D. ZOLNIKOV, F. MOORE, B. HOVEN, T. GAUTHIER, A. HERTZ

A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT SUBMITTING TO THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF MONTANA AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE IX, SECTION 7, OF THE MONTANA CONSTITUTION RECOGNIZING THAT THE RIGHT TO HUNT, FISH, AND TRAP TO HARVEST FISH AND WILDLIFE IS ESSENTIAL TO PURSUING LIFE'S BASIC NECESSITIES; ESTABLISHING THAT PUBLIC HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING ARE THE PREFERRED MEANS OF CONTROLLING AND HARVESTING FISH AND WILDLIFE; ALLOWING STATUTES THAT SEEK SCIENTIFIC WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION, SAFEGUARD CURRENT LAWFUL MEANS AND METHODS OF HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING, AND PROTECT PERSONS AND PROPERTY FROM HARM CAUSED BY FISH OR WILDLIFE TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF MONTANA CITIZENS TO HUNT, FISH, TRAP, AND HARVEST WILD FISH AND WILDLIFE; ESTABLISHING THAT HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING IS THE PREFERRED MANNER OF MANAGING WILD FISH AND WILDLIFE; ALLOWING FOR NECESSARY AND PROPER MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION STATUTES AND REGULATIONS; MAINTAINING THAT THIS RIGHT DOES NOT CREATE A RIGHT TO TRESPASS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY OR DIMINUTION OF OTHER PRIVATE RIGHTS; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE."

 

     WHEREAS, HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING ARE A VALUED PART OF MONTANA'S HARVEST HERITAGE; AND

     WHEREAS, CONTEMPORARY HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING PRACTICES PLAY A CRUCIAL, COST-EFFECTIVE ROLE IN SOUND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION; AND

     WHEREAS, HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING PROVIDE SUBSISTENCE, LIFE SKILLS, HEALTH, AND SELF-RELIANCE CENTRAL TO THE WELL-BEING OF THOUSANDS OF MONTANANS; AND

     WHEREAS, HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING AID SIGNIFICANTLY IN CONTROLLING WILDLIFE POPULATIONS, REDUCING WILDLIFE-RELATED CONFLICTS, AND PREVENTING HARM CAUSED BY WILDLIFE TO PERSONS, PROPERTY, CROPS, AND LIVESTOCK; AND

     WHEREAS, CONSERVATION FEES PAID BY HUNTERS, ANGLERS, AND TRAPPERS SUPPORT WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT, CONSERVATION, AND ENFORCEMENT PROGRAMS THAT ARE BENEFICIAL TO ALL WILDLIFE SPECIES IN MONTANA; AND

     WHEREAS, IN ADDITION TO ALL OF THE ABOVE, HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING PROVIDE MEANINGFUL OUTDOOR RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES THAT CONNECT PEOPLE TO THE ENVIRONMENT UNLIKE ANY OTHER ACTIVITY; AND

     WHEREAS, THE PEOPLE OF MONTANA FIND IT NECESSARY TO ENACT THIS AMENDMENT TO THE MONTANA CONSTITUTION SOLELY TO PROTECT HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING FROM UNDUE BANS OR RESTRICTIONS; AND

     WHEREAS, THIS AMENDMENT TO THE MONTANA CONSTITUTION IS INTENDED TO PRESERVE EFFECTIVE MEANS, METHODS, AND SEASONS OF HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING WHILE FULLY RESPECTING PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS AND OTHER LAND AND WATER USES, AND ALLOWING FOR NECESSARY AND PROPER MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION LAWS AND REGULATIONS; AND

     WHEREAS, THIS AMENDMENT TO THE MONTANA CONSTITUTION IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE A RIGHT TO IMPEDE OR SUPERSEDE OTHER USES OF LAND OR WATER, SUCH AS FARMING, RANCHING, LOGGING, IRRIGATION, PUBLIC WORKS, OR DEVELOPMENT; AND

     WHEREAS, THIS AMENDMENT TO THE MONTANA CONSTITUTION IS NOT INTENDED TO REQUIRE THE STATE TO OFFER THE SAME RIGHTS AND LICENSING STRUCTURE TO NONRESIDENTS AS IT DOES TO RESIDENTS; AND

     WHEREAS, THIS AMENDMENT TO THE MONTANA CONSTITUTION IS NOT INTENDED TO DELAY OR THWART EXISTING WILDLIFE CONTROL MEASURES, SUCH AS THOSE EMPLOYED BY GAME WARDENS AND WILDLIFE SERVICES TO IMMEDIATELY OR EFFECTIVELY PROTECT PERSONS OR PROPERTY FROM HARM CAUSED BY WILDLIFE.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

 

     Section 1.  Article IX, section 7, of The Constitution of the State of Montana is amended to read:

     "Section 7.  Preservation of harvest heritage. (1) The right of Montana citizens to hunt, fish, and trap for the purpose of harvesting fish and wildlife is a right essential to pursuing life's basic necessities.

     (2) The opportunity to harvest wild fish and wild game animals fish and wildlife is a heritage that shall forever be preserved to the individual citizens of the state and does not create a right to trespass on private property or diminution of other private rights.

     (3) Fish and wildlife management and conservation shall be subject only to statutes that seek to:

     (a) scientifically manage fish and wildlife populations;

     (b) provide that public hunting, fishing, and trapping, including but not limited to current lawful means and methods that exist on [the effective date of this act], are the preferred means and methods of controlling and harvesting fish and wildlife; and

     (c) protect persons and property from threats or harm caused by fish or wildlife. THE CITIZENS OF MONTANA HAVE THE RIGHT TO HUNT, FISH, TRAP, AND HARVEST WILD FISH AND WILDLIFE, INCLUDING THE USE OF CUSTOMARY MEANS AND METHODS. HUNTING, FISHING, AND TRAPPING BY CITIZENS IS THE PREFERRED MANNER OF MANAGING WILD FISH AND WILDLIFE AND IS SUBJECT TO NECESSARY AND PROPER MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION STATUTES ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE AND REGULATORY AUTHORITY DELEGATED BY THE LEGISLATURE TO A DESIGNATED PUBLIC AGENCY OR COMMISSION. THE RIGHT TO HARVEST WILD FISH AND WILDLIFE IS A HERITAGE THAT SHALL FOREVER BE PRESERVED TO THE INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS OF THE STATE AND DOES NOT CREATE A RIGHT TO TRESPASS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY OR A DIMINUTION OF OTHER PRIVATE RIGHTS."

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 2.  Two-thirds vote required. Because [section 1] is a legislative proposal to amend the constitution, Article XIV, section 8, of the Montana constitution requires an affirmative roll call vote of two-thirds of all the members of the legislature, whether one or more bodies, for passage.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 3.  Effective date. [This act] is effective upon approval by the electorate.

 

     NEW SECTION.  Section 4.  Submission to electorate. [This act] shall be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana at the general election to be held in November 2018 by printing on the ballot the full title of [this act] and the following:

     []      YES on Constitutional Amendment ____.

     []      NO on Constitutional Amendment ____.

- END -

 


Latest Version of SB 236 (SB0236.03)
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