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June 14, 2013

Coalition Applauds Maine Legislature for Upholding Voting Rights

House and Senate Reject Anti-Democracy Constitutional Amendment

The Maine legislature rejected a constitutional amendment intended to subvert voter participation in the democratic process. LD 1303, legislation that would have prohibited citizen initiatives on hunting and fishing matters, is a power grab by some politicians and their allies in the trophy hunting lobby  that would have taken Maine voters out of the decision making process. The legislation required two-thirds approval in both chambers, but a majority of House members rejected it with a vote of 65-84, and the Senate failed to get two-thirds with its vote of 20-15.

A coalition of groups, including The Humane Society of the United States, Wildlife Alliance of Maine and Citizens in Charge, applauded the legislature for rejecting this political power grab and attempt to suppress voting rights.

Katie Hansberry, Maine state director for The HSUS said: “We are so grateful to the legislators who stood up to those trying to silence Maine voters. Voting rights are part of our Maine heritage and the rejection of this cynical and underhanded legislation affirmed that.”

Daryl DeJoy, executive director of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine said: “We appreciate the legislators who saw through the smoke and mirrors of this constitutional amendment. We are so pleased that they have allowed Maine citizens to continue to have a say in what happens to our wildlife.”

Paul Jacobs, president for Citizens in Charge said: “Thank goodness the right of the people of Maine to bring issues to the ballot through initiative and to decide those issues has been respected."

LD 1303 would have also cluttered the constitution with a vague mandate that Maine will forever preserve hunting, fishing and the taking of wildlife for the “public good.” Including this requirement in the state’s constitution would have put burdensome restrictions on policymakers for any future laws that impact wildlife management and might have prevented them from taking necessary actions to protect the state’s economy, natural resources and public. The one-size-fits-all restriction failed to take into account wildlife management challenges in areas where hunting may not be feasible, such as densely populated areas, or species for which hunting and fishing isn’t an option, like endangered species.  

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson: 24-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org

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