Fishing and hunting rights campaign sees strong financial backing ahead of November vote

by | Jun 6, 2024

The “Vote Yes on Amendment 2” campaign raised $456,869 from April 1 to May 31 to support making fishing and hunting fundamental rights in Florida, with major contributions from T. Roosevelt Action Inc. and Friends of Wilton Simpson.

The “Vote Yes on Amendment 2” campaign garnered $456,869 in contributions between April 1 and May 31 as it seeks to help establish fishing and hunting as fundamental rights in Florida.

T. Roosevelt Action Inc., a Naples-based advocacy group, donated $250,000, representing the single largest donor, while Friends of Wilton Simpson, on behalf of Commissioner of Argriculture Wilton Simpson, contributed $100,000.

“We need to protect our rights constitutionally…there are many extremists that are trying to take our hunting and fishing rights away,” Simpson told The Capitolist during an interview last month.

Arcadia Stockyard, a livestock market, gave $50,000, marking the third largest donor during the recorded timeframe.

In-kind contributions included $611.32 from Platform Communications for graphic design and domain services, and $3,224.74 from Coker Menla for supplies. Several PACs additionally provided support, including Friends of Jonathan Martin and Friends of Lauren Melo, which each gave $5,000. Friends of Matt Caldwell and Friends of Mike Giallombardo each donated $2,500.

Individual contributions included $10,000 from Robert E. Coker, an agriculture professional, alongside the Wayne L. Revocable Trust and Steven T. Wilder who each contributed $5,000. Smaller donations came from individuals such as Stephens M. Lane of Quincy and Diane Eggeman of Tallahassee.

A Florida Chamber of Commerce poll showed 74 percent of Floridians support the amendment, which exceeds the 60 percent threshold needed for passage in November.

Should the measure be adopted, Florida would become the 24th state to establish a constitutional right to hunt and fish. The resolution would add a 28th section to the Declaration of Rights in the Florida Constitution, stating that hunting and fishing are the preferred methods for “responsibly managing and controlling fish and wildlife” and “shall be preserved forever as a public right.”

Saltwater fishing has a significant economic impact on Florida, earning the state the title of “Fishing Capital of the World.” In the fiscal year 2019-20, the state sold 1.5 million recreational saltwater licenses, generating $37.8 million in total sales. The economic impact of saltwater recreational fishing alone is $9.2 billion, though when combined, saltwater and freshwater recreational fishing have an economic impact of $13.8 billion, according to state data.

Moreover, saltwater recreational fishing supports 88,501 jobs in Florida, while both saltwater and freshwater fishing support 120,000 jobs in total. In 2019 and 2020, Florida’s commercial fisheries generated $3.2 billion in income and supported 76,700 jobs, per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

According to the International Order of T. Rosevelt, who spoke at a press conference last April in support of the measure, hunting-related purchases totaled $1.3 billion in Florida in 2022, supporting 14,300 jobs.

According to the International Order of T. Rosevelt, hunting-related purchases totaled $1.3 billion in Florida last year, supporting 14,300 jobs. Altogether, outdoor recreation generates an economic impact of $10.1 billion annually.


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