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Senate to vote on 'hunting rights' amendment, could derail wolf hunt referendum

The state Senate is poised to vote on a measures that would circumvent a referendum on the law that allows wolf hunting. More than a hundred demonstrators showed up at the state Capitol today to protest the legislation.

It would let an appointed state board determine what species may be hunted.

Julie Baker led the ballot campaign to reverse the 1996 law that allowed hunting of mourning doves.

“Since then, of course, the voters of the state of Michigan have voted to protect mourning doves as a traditional backyard songbird. This will nullify that vote and take away their voice and their right to vote on this issue.”

Backers of the legislation say state wildlife professionals – not the public – should make decisions on which species should be hunted.

The wolf-hunting referendum is awaiting formal certification by a state elections board. The campaign turned in 250,000 signatures to support the referendum.

State Senator David Hildenbrand proposed the amendment. 

“I think it’s important to this state, and now with a lot of the discussion about hunting and fishing in this state, now is an appropriate time. There are people that would be opposed to it, but I believe the vast majority of Michigan residents would support something like that in our constitution.”

The Senate is also expected to vote on a measure to add a hunting and fishing rights amendment to the state constitution. That would also have to be approved by voters in 2014.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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