House Bill 212 would rewrite our constitution to add protections for trapping to the constitution. This change is based on what some of the original lobbyists say they intended to write and somehow left it out of what people saw and voted on.

How can our Legislature rewrite the language of our constitution and enshrine in ironclad language what a small group of people (lobbyists and trappers) are wanting to see? The language that was voted on years ago is the intention of the people, not what a small group of people are trying to tell you they intended. That language said hunting and fishing are protected. It did not say that hunting and trapping are the same thing and should be protected equally. Semantics are being used to circumvent the will of the majority of people.

You cannot extrapolate a small group’s intentions into what might have been if the majority of people had been able to see that intention transmitted onto paper. To add that intention without the people seeing it and voting on it as they did for the original change to the constitution sets a dangerous precedent on changes to our constitution.

Our ethics and our values as a group should be voted on at every turn by a majority of people and not be changed by insertion into the constitution of language that someone claims they would have written if they had written it the way they intended. That is an unfounded claim and people did not see and vote on intentions. Everyone voted on the language as it is in the constitution now not what the lobbyists want. This trapping protection is a hot topic of debate and the majority of people, not a small group, should make that decision.

There are many past practices that were legal and enshrined in our federal constitution that we now hold to be immoral and indecent. Our values and truths changed over time and we should recognize that. We should not be standing and staring at each other over a vast gulf of differences of opinion and throwing labels at each other in hopes of winning in this small group of people. Let’s let the public and majority decide what is right.

Robin Layton

Helena

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