The Bradley County Elections Office will be open until 4:30 this afternoon for residents wishing to register for the opportunity to choose a new Tennessee governor, 3rd District congressman, a representative of the 5th District School Board and to voice their right regarding a Tennessee Constitution amendment.
The latter could become controversial; however, legislators in both the House of Representatives and Senate formed a bi-partisan resolution to change the vague wording of a somewhat vague right and preserve the right for Tennesseans to hunt and fish.
Currently, Article XI, Section 13 regarding game and fish reads: “The General Assembly shall have the power to enact laws for the protection and preservation of Game and Fish, within the state, and such laws may be enacted for and applied and enforced in particular counties or geographical districts designated by the General Assembly.”
The new resolution led by District 8 House of Representatives Joe McCord (R), and Democrat Doug Jackson of the 25th District, proposed this language: “The citizens of this state shall have the right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state’s power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to non-threatened species.”
According to State Rep. Eric Watson-R who represents the 22nd Legislative Districtr, “The wording will guarantee rights to the citizen and protect that right from organizations such as PETA.”
The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals is an animal rights group which has reportedly raised issues recently regarding the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Fishing Team.
Mike Bell, newly elected Senate member of District 9, said the wording change is a protective measure.
“We have had no major problems here in Tennessee, but this is a pre-emptive action to avoid any future problems,” said Bell.
Voters will have the choice to accept or not to accept Constitution Amendment 1 regarding the changes in the wording.
Meanwhile, Republican Bill Haslam and Democrat Mike McWherter continue to campaign for the governor’s office as do 14 Independent candidates.
Republican candidate Chuck Fleischmann and John Wolfe, the Democrat candidate, battle for the 3rd Congressional District seat along with six Independents, and the only other contested local race is for Bradley County School Board District 5.
That seat was vacated with the death of Terry McGuire.
Jerry Johnson Jr., long-time deputy sheriff and emergency services employee, and Rodney Dillard, general manager at a local grocer, are vying for the non-partisan position.
Also on the ballot are non-contested seats in the Tennessee Senate, and the 22nd and 24th Legislative Districts in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Bell received the vote for the Tennessee Senate position which was held by Dewayne Bunch who chose not to run for re-election.
Watson holds the 22nd Legislative District seat and Kevin Brooks is the 24th Legislative District representative.