The Oregon Outdoor Council on behalf of its members Stan Steele (Chairman of the Board), Dominic Aiello (President), and Wayne Endicott (Co-Founding Board Member) have filed a lawsuit against Jeanne Atkins, the Oregon Secretary of State seeking to have Atkins’ decision to reject four ballot measures sponsored by Steele, Aiello and Endicott reversed.
In December of 2014, the Oregon Outdoor Council announced that it would begin the process to place an initiative on the 2016 ballot that would make angling, hunting, and the harvest of wildlife a constitutional right in Oregon.
The proposed measures are Initiative Petitions 18 through 21. Steele, Aiello and Endicott are the chief petitioners for each proposed measure.
The text of one of the measures reads as follows: The people reserve the right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to reasonable regulations as the legislative assembly, or the people through the exercise of their initiative or referendum powers, may reasonably regulate by law.
The lawsuit was filed as a result of Secretary Atkins’s decision to reject the Oregon Outdoor Council’s four referendums and prohibit the measures from qualifying for the 2016 ballot.
“The Secretary of State’s office verified the signatures required for our four measures to qualify for the next stage of the initiative process. However, Secretary Atkins chose to take it upon herself to disqualify all four measures without legal standing. Clearly, Secretary Atkins is attempting to prevent nearly 700,000 Oregonians a voice in our political process. Oregonians expect better of our elected officials.”, says Steele.
“18 other states have passed very similar constitutional amendments. The support has been overwhelmingly positive. Most people thought it was already a protected right and were shocked to discover otherwise.”, says Aiello.
If passed, the measures would not impact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s ability to manage wildlife, sell angling and hunting licenses, or enforce wildlife laws.