From: Linda L
Subject: Re: Majority rights
Date: Monday, January 10, 2011, 10:30 AM
Speaking of majority rights, could we “sue” to have the ODNR’s Wildlife Council changed so that it’s 13 (?) members represent the wishes of the majority of Ohio citizens – instead of representing trappers, hunters, farmers? I believe that the Ohio constitution states that Ohio wildlife “belongs” to all Ohio citizens.
From: Anthony Marr
Hello, everyone! I’ve been following this thread, though not word for word. I would like to contribute my 2-cents at this point.
I haven’t done in depth research on the constitutional make-up of Ohio, but there seems to be close parallels with those of other states. One such state is New Jersey, whose state-constitution stipulates that of the 11 voting members of the Fish and Game Council which determines the wildlife policies of the state, at least 6 must be hunters, and at least another 3 must be farmers, who are usually also hunters. Last time I checked, all 11 were hunters. This appears to be of relevance to Ohio’s state constitution regarding the pre-rigged hunter majority in ODNR’s Wildlife Council.
My long held conclusion is that unless the state constitution of New Jersey be amended to provide proportional representation for nonhunters and antihunters, no amount of demos and petitions and court injunctions can make a fundamental difference in the way that wildlife management policy is being determined and executed.
But there is a definitive difference between New Jersey and Ohio – ballot initiative and referendum legislation. Whereas New Jersey does not have it, Ohio does have it. And in my humble opinion, it should be used. To have the provision and not use it is, to me, tantamount to an army going to war, leaving it most potent weapon behind.
One more thing that distinguishes Ohio not only from states like New Jersey which do not have BI&R legislation, but from other states which have it, is that among those states (26) with such legislation, some can do only referenda, (MD, NM), some can do initiated statutes only (WA, ID, ME, UT and WY), some can do initiated amendments only (FL, IL, MS), and the rest can do both initiated amendments and as well initiated statutes (AR, AZ, CA, CO, MA, MI, MO, MT, NE, NV, OH, OK, OR, ND, SD), and OH has both.
The difference between Initiated Amendments and Initiated Statutes is that while initiative statutes allows citizens to directly change state laws (e.g. the Hunter Harassment Statute), initiative amendments allows citizens to amend the state constitution towards achieving proportional representation in the ODNR. The way to “sue” for this is to use Ohio’s initiative amendment legislation for Ohioans to vote on proportional representation.
I have experience with leading an initiative in British Columbia in 1996 (see my blog titled “Gratitude #4 – to the 1800 volunteers of the Bear Referendum campaign” in http://homosapienssaveyourearth.blogspot.com/2010/12/gratitude-4-to-1800-volunteers-of-bear_26.html), and am willing to be of assistance to an initiated amendment campaign toward achieving true democracy in wildlife management in Ohio, as well as an initiative statute campaign towards overturning the Hunter Harassment Statute of Ohio.
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)