State

Bill would allow Amish to wear red when hunting

AUGUSTA, Maine — Rep. David McCrea, D-Fort Fairfield, recently introduced legislation to allow hunters to wear red if their religion prohibits them from wearing orange.

Members of the Amish community in Aroostook County spoke to McCrea about creating an exception in the law to allow a person who has a religious opposition to wearing hunter orange clothing to wear red instead.

“How many times have we been made aware of the fact that many of the early European settlers of our land came here so that they could escape religious persecution and practice their faith as they so desired?” said McCrea. “In a small way, with this bill, we as legislators have an opportunity to stand a little bit taller and cast our vote in support of religious freedom.”

Members of the Amish community testified in support of McCrea’s bill, citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

“Our national church group has maintained a belief against the use of or wearing blaze orange because of its bright color,” testified Noah Yoder, a member of the Fort Fairfield/Easton Amish community. “Our local wardens have asked us to continue pushing for legislation that will allow us to wear red, rather than waiting until one of us gets cited for not wearing blaze orange.”

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife also testified in support of the legislation.

The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee will hold a work session on LD 426 in coming weeks, at which point they will offer amendments and vote on a recommendation to the entire Legislature.

McCrea is serving his first term in the Legislature. He represents Caswell, Easton, Fort Fairfield, Hamlin, Limestone, part of Presque Isle, Stockholm and Cyr Plantation, plus the unorganized territory of Connor Township.

 

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