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We really don’t like to say “we informed you so.” We truly really do not.
In Oct, we editorialized in favor of a “no” vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would vaguely warranty a appropriate to food stuff. We apprehensive that the proposed amendment was as well vaguely worded and would lead to lawsuits.
“Even with the comprehension that no suitable is absolute, we have a tricky time viewing how generating this new, ambiguous constitutional right won’t direct to court docket troubles wherever judges, somewhat than the Legislature, will choose what this language really signifies,” we wrote in that editorial.
The modification, which enshrined Mainers’ appropriate to “grow, raise, harvest, create and eat the foods of their choosing” for personal use in the point out structure, was authorised by voters in November, with almost 61 % backing the ballot concern. It was supported by an unusual coalition including the Maine Natural Farmers and Gardeners Affiliation and the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine.
Considerably less than a calendar year later, the first lawsuit based on the amendment has been filed.
Late previous thirty day period, attorneys filed suit in Kennebec County Superior Court docket on behalf of a Readfield couple who argue that Maine’s ban on Sunday searching is archaic and prevents them from harvesting meals for their family. The ban also operates counter to Maine’s constitutional correct to food stuff, their court filing argues.
Virginia and Joel Parker say they began hunting in 2011 to health supplement their foodstuff source. They want to teach their five youngsters to hunt, but because the little ones are in university and Joel operates throughout the week, they now have only one particular working day a 7 days – Saturday – to hunt.
“The Sunday searching ban is superceded by the Correct to Food Amendment,” the Parkers’ lawsuit claims. “The ban is a spiritual and social assemble that does not suit into any of the amendment’s exceptions, as it are not able to be justified by the will need to secure personal residence rights, general public safety, or purely natural sources.”
It is now up to a decide – and quite possibly several judges, as any county courtroom selection is very likely to be appealed to greater stage courts – to ascertain if the new amendment does in point trump condition laws and rules. Judges will also identify how significantly the modification reaches.
The Parkers’ accommodate is backed by Maine Hunters United for Sunday Hunting, a team that has unsuccessfully pushed the Legislature in recent several years to overturn the Sunday looking ban.
Only Maine and Massachusetts ban looking on Sundays. Advocates of Sunday searching have experimented with 35 occasions about the past 45 yrs to get the prohibition lifted. They have been unsuccessful and permitting hunting on Sunday continues to be unpopular with Maine people.
Presented this sentiment and record, we remain confident that the greatest way to contemplate difficult plan modifications, like modifying lengthy-standing hunting laws, is by a course of action that features comprehensive general public input and discussion.
That won’t occur in a court case, which is why a lot of teams, which includes the Maine Farm Bureau and the Maine Municipal Association, warned that the appropriate to foods amendment was much too vaguely worded and would guide to courtroom problems.
We worry that the Parkers’ lawsuit will be the first of many that will use the new amendment to obstacle long-standing Maine legal guidelines that limit searching, fishing, land entry and land use.