FRANKFORT — A constitutional amendment to protect hunting and fishing rights won approval Tuesday from a state Senate panel.
The Senate State and Local Government Committee gave unanimous approval to House Bill 1 and sent it to the full Senate. If approved, Kentucky voters would consider it at the ballot in 2012.
The measure has already cleared the House. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, said the measure makes hunting and fishing a right instead of a privilege.
But Tom FitzGerald with the Kentucky Resources Council said he did not think it is necessary. He warned that the legislation will empower individuals to challenge state laws that limit the ability to hunt and fish in areas where the legislature has placed restrictions, such as wilderness areas, state resorts and nature reserves.
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Senate Majority Leader Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, asked whether a convicted felon could use the legislation as a defense to carry a gun by saying it was for hunting. Chairman Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said Stivers' concern would be addressed in an amendment on the Senate floor.