The first of four state Constitution-changing questions on tomorrow’s ballot deals with hunting. Since hunting is already a popular pastime and tourism attraction in the state, what is the question?
The ballot explanation says:
A “Yes” vote will make it a constitutional right for citizens to hunt and fish and will permit the State to legally provide for proper wildlife management and the protection of private property rights.
Some legislators say that making hunting and fishing into constitutional rights protects the practices in case they are ever legally challenged. Hunting advocates say right-to-hunt measures would ensure that hunting could never be outlawed without a statewide vote. Animal rights groups have pushed for hunting restrictions in several states, including Kentucky, where they tried to stop bear season from opening last year, and in Minnesota, where there was an attempt to ban dove hunting.
South Carolina joins Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky, and Tennessee with right-to-hunt amendments on the ballot this year. Such constitutional guarantees are already in place in nine states.
The second constitutional question on tomorrow’s ballot addresses “the fundamental right of an individual to vote by secret ballot” if they are considering representation by a labor union. Now there is a card-check system for labor votes and legislators argue those are traceable and so the employee may be subject to pressure by union members.
South Carolina is not a union-friendly state and this further closes the door to union expansion. Bill champion Senator Larry Martin of Pickens says the measure is designed “to send the strongest message possible that this is the way we want union elections conducted in South Carolina.”
Pro-labor state senators fought the measure, saying it defies federal labor laws, but both the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to put the question to the state’s citizens.
Constitutional questions number three and four on tomorrow’s ballot deal with the state’s finances.
Number three asks citizens for permission to increase the amount of money state government must keep in the General Reserve Fund (its”rainy day” fund) from three percent of the previous year’s revenue to five percent of the previous year’s revenue.
The reason: to keep a very healthy amount of money in reserve and to help our credit rating on Wall Street.
Amendment four makes sure the state’s Capital Reserve Fund first replenishes the State’s General Reserve Fund (the “rainy day” fund) before it is used to offset mid-year budget cuts at state agencies.
With the past two years being tough on the state budget, the reserve fund was being tapped—and legislators and the state treasurer were worried that the savings account would dwindle or be used for quick fixes, instead of being the rainy day fund it was set up to be.
Voters get the final say on that tomorrow.