A two bill package which provides authority to the state Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to determine which animal species are eligible for hunting based on sound science passed the state Senate on Thursday.
The bills were the subject of much debate and discussion throughout the week.
State Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, worked with his colleagues to gain support for the removal of the appropriation provision which would have prohibited the legislation from being subjected to a public referendum vote.
“The right of the citizens of Michigan to protect their families, pets, and livestock from predatory animals is vital, especially in the Upper Peninsula which is feeling the brunt of the increase in wolf population,” said Nofs. “However, it’s also important to respect the will of the voters when they speak through a referendum vote.”
The compromise legislation fulfills the spirit of Proposal G by allowing the NRC to list game species based on sound scientific wildlife management practices while also reserving the ability of the state legislature to list and de-list species.
The bills maintain the right of the people to subject this legislation to a referendum vote while also respecting the will of voters by excluding species that have previously been excluded via a referendum.
“I’m pleased that we were able to find a compromise that reflects the very real needs of citizens in the U.P. while also respecting the rights afforded to the people under our state constitution,” Nofs said.
In related action, the Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution S which proposes adding to the state constitution language clarifying the right of Michigan citizens to hunt, trap, fish and to harvest game that are the property of the state and are held in the public trust.