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Tennessee State Constitutional Amendment on the Ballot for November 2nd, 2010

If you’re anything like me you may be asking, what in the world is this constitutional amendment all about? We should probably start with the text of the amendment and then follow with that text in context with the section within the article of the state constitution in question.

Constitutional Amendment on the Ballot for November 2nd, 2010 (Text)

Shall Article XI, Section 13 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee be amended by adding the following sentences at the end of the section: (This is the question you will be answering yes or no to. Yes to amend the constitution and no to leave it as is)

The citizens of this state shall have the personal right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate (See bottom of post for definition.) any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state’s power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to take non-threatened species.

Let’s Look at this Amendment in Context with the Current Tennessee State Constitution.

Article XI

Section 13.
The General Assembly shall have power to enact laws for the
protection and preservation of game and fish, within the state, and such laws
may be enacted for and applied and enforced in particular counties or geographi-
cal districts, designated by the General Assembly.
Amendment Would be added here:
The citizens of this state shall have the personal right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state’s power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to take non-threatened species.

Let’s Discuss this in a Little More Detail.

Straight to the point: This amendment would guarantee an individual the right to hunt and fish in the state of Tennessee with some strings attached. While any protection is better than nothing I personally find the wording to be fairly vague which is likely a common occurrence in constitutional law. For example: Define what a reasonable regulation or restriction is; a bit difficult to do? Next attempt to define traditional manners and means. Does this mean firearms, archery, traps, taking the game down with a choke hold, etc…? You see my point, it’s cloudy at best.

Abrogate Definition
1. to abolish by formal or official means; annul by an authoritative act; repeal: to abrogate a law.
2. to put aside; put an end to.
(Source:Click Here)

Why is this definition important?
Simple, in context with the proposed amendment this states that this amendment would NOT affect personal or public property rights. Meaning, if a citizen wanted to hunt or fish on your property he/she could not do so unless the property owner approved it. Of course there are obvious loopholes to property rights; Eminent domain for example.

Links
Tennessee State Constitution Text (PDF)
Sample Ballot (November 2nd, 2010)(PDF)


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