House OKs Bill To Allow Amish Hunters to Wear Red Instead of Orange

Published: May. 11, 2017 at 4:49 PM EDT
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Legislation to allow hunters to wear red if their religion prohibits them from wearing orange earned support in the Maine House Thursday. The bipartisan vote was 120-27.

Members of the Amish community in Aroostook County spoke to Rep. David McCrea, D-Fort Fairfield, about creating an exception in the law for a person who has a religious opposition to wearing hunter orange clothing to instead wear red.

McCrea said he hopes the Senate and governor will join the House in supporting the measure.

“I feel that failure to do so will almost certainly lead to a legal confrontation between the state of Maine and this group of Amish people, a battle that is absolutely unnecessary and one that can almost certainly be resolved by my bill,” said McCrea.

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.

LD 426 faces further votes in both the House and the Senate.

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.