S.C. ballot measure asks about protecting hunting

COLUMBIA --- Voters will see four questions on the November ballot, including one that asks whether hunting and fishing should be a right in South Carolina. Not that those rights are threatened. Not yet, say some.

"It's important because all of the country, over the past 10-15 years, there have been challenges to hunting and fishing from animal rights groups, mostly, and this is kind of forward thinking," said Cary Chamblee, speaking on behalf of the Wildlife Federation and the two-dozen conservation and sportsmen groups within the S.C. Camo Coalition.

"South Carolina has not had this problem, and I don't anticipate we'd have it for a while."

The proposed amendment combines the protections of the state government's right to manage its wildlife species with the rights of hunters and anglers.

The ballot question asks voters whether the constitution should be amended to include the protections. It was introduced in the Legislature by Rep. Brian White, R-Anderson, as H. 3483, and received near-unanimous approval. The amendment may also signal a desire to preserve an outdoors culture that some say is shifting.

"As a state grows and urbanizes, and fewer and fewer people as a percentage are hunting and fishing, we want to retain those rights," Chamblee said.

Keiana Page, spokeswoman for the S.C. Democratic Party said of the four ballot questions, the party opposes only the second, which would give giving people the constitutional right to vote by secret ballot when they are voting on whether to be represented by a labor union.

The third question asks voters whether the state should be required to keep more in its rainy day fund, while the fourth question asks whether replenishing this fund should be the Capital Reserve Fund's first priority.

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