Hunting Group Pushes Bill to Restrict Petitioners

Mon, Jan 12 2015 by Neal Hobson

Maine State Rep. Stanley Short (D-Pittsfield) is introducing legislation on behalf of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, a pro-hunting group, to regulate and restrict non-resident paid petitioners. The text of the bill has yet to be released, but reports say it will ban out-of-state petitioners and require paid-petitioners to register with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices and to wear a special ID badge on their persons while petitioning.

The effort seems clearly designed to block future animal rights ballot initiatives. The Sportsman’s Alliance fought a 2014 ballot issue supported by the Humane Society of the United States. The measure, which would have banned certain methods of hunting bears in the Pine Tree State, was defeated 53 to 47 percent.

Angelo Paparella, president of California-based signature-gathering firm PCI Consultants Inc., called the bill, “A cowardly way to attack the initiative process.”

“The more bureaucratic roadblocks they throw up, the more expensive the process gets and the more it gets limited to special interests,” said Paparella.

Similar residency requirements for petitioners in other states have been repeatedly overturned in court as unconstitutional, including in: Arizona (twice), Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio (3 times), Oklahoma and Virginia.  Several recent federal appeals courts have ruled unanimously against such residency laws.

Also, a similar scheme to register, regulate and restrict paid petitioners passed in Arkansas in 2013, but was struck down as unconstitutional.

Rad more from the Press Herald: Here