Proposition 109 is a solution in search of a problem, unnecessarily amends the state's Constitution and uses vague language that invites challenges. That's why we urge you to vote "No."
The proposition would amend Arizona's Constitution to guarantee the right to hunt and fish. That sounds harmless enough.
But the proposition would also give the state Legislature the exclusive authority to regulate hunting, fish and the harvesting of wildlife. The measure says lawmakers "may" choose to delegate rule-making authority to the state Game and Fish Commission.
Put wildlife management into the hands of politicians? We think not. That job is currently done by Game and Fish, and it's done not just by regulating hunting seasons and requiring fishing licenses, but by using complex calculations and science.
Further, Prop. 109 would bar any law or rule that "unreasonably restricts" hunting, fishing and wildlife harvesting and using "traditional" means to do so.
That's too vague to suit us. What are "traditional means," anyway? Could a frustrated hunter assert that the season on elk or the number of available tags and licenses "unreasonably" restrict his opportunities to bag a big one?
Further, enacting a Constitutional amendment goes too far. If Arizonans later concluded the amendment wasn't workable, another statewide vote would be needed to remove the amendment.
This proposition was referred to the ballot not by citizens, but by the state Legislature.
As an analysis of the measure by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University noted: "The National Rifle Association was involved in crafting the language of the constitutional amendment . . . in response to what members perceive as a possible future threat from animal rights groups . . . to impede hunting and fishing, or even make it illegal outright. There appears to be no current campaign in Arizona to limit or abolish hunting or fishing."
A solution to a problem that does not exist in Arizona. Vote "no." Let's spend our energies on real problems, not fantasized ones.
Arizona Daily Star
The Star's editorials on the Nov. 2 election began Saturday. Coming up next:
• Tuesday: Proposition 113
• Wednesday: Propositions 110 and 112
• Thursday: Proposition 203