Lawmakers Pass Wolf Hunt Bill

Two wolf hunt-related proposals on the November ballot are effectively moot, after the state legislature passed a citizen-driven initiative to change the law.

The DNR's Natural Resource Commission will have the final say on what can or cannot be game species, provides funding to combat aquatic invasive species and restores free hunting licenses for active military members.

The Scientific Fish and Wildlife Act trumps two other ballot initiatives support by groups opposed to the wolf hunt or in favor of letting the people decide.

It does not require the Governor's signature. If the legislature had done nothing, the issue would have been placed on the ballot.

A group of demonstrators met outside the Capitol Wednesday morning, urging lawmakers to let the people decide.

"We keep putting petitions out and they won't let it go to the ballot," said Emily Haggerty. "It's a simple thing. It's not asking so much just to be able to vote."

Others say that out-of-state special interest groups have skewed the issue and spread misinformation about the initiative.

"The voters are uninformed," said Michael Leonard, who is a part of the pro-hunt Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management. "They don't know the science and they are easily swayed by soundbites."

Leonard pointed to more than 300,000 certified signatures supporting the initiative as proof that there are people who want the legislature to handle things.

"More people have signed this initiative that we have before us today than have signed for the referendum repeal," said Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan). "Many will claim today that power has been abused, and they're right. Those who vote no today are abusing their power. They do it by disregarding sound policy that's completely in line with legislation approved by the people of this state."

Many Democrats said they feel the will of the voter is being trumped. In recent years the legislature passed a law authorizing an abortion-insurance rider instead of putting the question on the ballot.

They also point to Right to Work and the Emergency Manager Law as examples of what they say is a Republican majority circumventing the people -- though the process is constitutional.

"If we have that many people on both sides signing petitions on this," said Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing), "then we should send it to the ballot and let the people decide."

Click here for an explanation of all three citizen-initiatives and how the legislature got to this point.


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