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Bill that circumvents wolf hunt vote going to Gov. Snyder

The state House has approved a bill that would allow a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula to go forward regardless of the result of a possible state-wide referendum on a wolf hunt.

The bill was approved last week by the state Senate, and Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign it.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

Animal rights activists are fuming about the bill, which would clear the way for wolf hunting. In addition to giving authority to the NRC, the bill circumvents a petition drive undertaken by the activists who turned in 250,000 signatures to the Secretary of State seeking a ballot proposal to ban the hunting of gray wolves in the Upper Peninsula.

Previous versions of this legislation contained an appropriation which would have made it "referendum proof." There is no appropriation in the latest version, so another petition drive could begin should this be signed into law.

State Representative Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) from the western Upper Peninsula says the bill addresses a public safety threat.

“And that’s dealing with a severe problem that we’re dealing with in the U-P, and how the Upper Peninsula is going to be easily disenfranchised on an issue that is specific and limited to the people of the Upper Peninsula,” said McBroom.

McBroom says wolves are attacking pets and livestock in pockets of the U-P. He says managing that problem should not be subject to a statewide vote.

Opponents of the bill say the Legislature is doing an end-run around the people’s right to challenge laws they don’t like.

State Representative Andrew Kandrevas (D-Southgate) voted against the bill. He says the Legislature should not decide the question before voters have the chance to weigh in.

“There’s a current referendum underway and a push and we’ll see if they’re ultimately successful in getting a question on the ballot or not, but I think this bill is done this way in order to take it out of their hands.”

Who decides what we can hunt?

Under current law, that's left up to Michigan Legislators. The designated the wolf as a potential game species last year.

This legislation will change that.

From SB 288:

"Only the legislature or the commission may designate a species as game."

"The commission" is the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.

It's a "seven-member public body whose members are appointed by the Governor and subject to the advice and consent of the Senate."

*Correction - a previous version of this post stated an appropriation was included in the bill. The appropriation was removed. We have updated the post above.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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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