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Urgent Alert – Michiganders Unite for Wolves

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Calls are urgently needed to Michigan Senators and Representatives. Ask them to oppose Senate Bill 288. If you are not a MI resident, please pass along to a Michigan voter!

Find your senator: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysenator/fysenator.htm

Find your representative: http://www.house.michigan.gov/mhrpublic/

FOR OUT OF STATE WOLFWATCHERS – If you are interested in being a voice for Michigan wolves, you can help by participating in the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected phone bank.  Just send your name, phone number and email address to them and they will provide you with a list of call numbers – hassan@keepwolvesprotected.com

Background:

In 1908 Michigan added initiative and referendum to its constitution. Initiative is the right of citizens to propose and vote on new laws and referendum is the right of citizens to vote to approve or reject new laws passed by the legislature. Even in 1908 referendum was limited to laws which did not have certain appropriations (spending) in them. The idea, presumably, was that you didn’t want citizens to interfere with the ability of the state to pay its bills or manage its budget.

In 2004, the Michigan legislature designated the mourning dove as a game bird and authorized a hunting season. Through the referendum process, Michigan voters rejected the law 69% to 31%.

This past December, Governor Snyder signed into law PA 620, designating the wolf a game animal, authorizing a hunting season. 253,000 signatures (90,000 more than necessary) were obtained within 67 days and submitted to the Michigan Secretary of State. If certified, this issue would be placed on the November 2014 ballot to be voted upon by registered voters.

Under current law, legislators can designate a species a game animal and then the Natural Resource Commission decides whether there should be a hunting season and establishes the rules and regulations governing the hunting season. A few years ago, legislators designated the Moose a game species, but the NRC did not establish a hunting season.

New Development

Yesterday, Senator Casperson introduced SB 288, which allows for either the legislature or the Natural Resource Commission to designate a species a game animal. It therefore, removes the checks and balances. The Commission would then have the authority to designate a species a game animal and develop the rules and regulations for the season. Citizens would not be allowed to challenge a NRC decision through the referendum process.

Senate Bill 288 includes an appropriation of $1 million by including the appropriation, this law, if signed by the Governor cannot be challenged through the referendum process.

Impact

It would mean, despite having the required number of signatures for the people to vote, citizens would be denied that right and wolves would become a hunted species. But, this is not about wolves. Any species, under this bill, can become a game and a hunted species.

Talking Points

1 – We need to maintain the checks and balances under current policy

2 – Wildlife belongs to all citizens

3 – Citizens must be allowed to challenge wildlife laws through the referendum process

 

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