The fundamental issue represented by HB 212, currently before the House Fish, Wildlife and Parks Committee, is not trapping. While nominally about "Reaffirming that trapping is a form of hunting protected under the Constitution," the real issue is an extra legal attempt to amend the meaning of Article XI, section 7 of the Constitution by changing definitions in the MCA.

Section 7 states that it protects the right to harvest wild fish and wild game animals. No mention of trapping. Section 7 was brought about by a vote on C 41 in 2004. Proponents of HB 212 claim that their meaning was that C 41 also applied to trapping. Not a single word regarding trapping exists in the C 41 text or proponents arguments for C 41 in the voter's guide. Any reference to trapping is conspicuous in its absence.

The proponents’ claims are irrelevant. It is the meaning and intent of C 41 in the minds of the electorate that voted C 41 into law that is relevant as it is the voters and not the proponents of C 41 that enacted it. How can the voters have had in mind that the meaning and intent of C 41 included a right to protect trapping when trapping was never once mentioned with respect to C 41? The electorate voted to make fishing and hunting a protected right, not trapping.

If this process can be used in HB 212, it can be used to amend any constitutional provision, perhaps one important to you. Constitutional amendments via the normal legislative process are not permitted under our Constitution. Contact your representative and tell them to oppose HB 212.

Wes Miles

Hamilton

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