Photo of wolf © Brandi Nichols and courtesy National Wolfwatcher Coalition. Reprinted with permission.
LANSING -- In a desperate move, State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) introduced in Committee today Senate Bill 288 which, if signed into law, will prevent voters from having a say in what happens to Michigan wildlife.
In a 2006 referendum, Michigan voters overwhelmingly said "no" to the hunting of mourning doves. Last month, the signatures of 253,000 registered Michigan voters were submitted to the Secretary of State, requesting a similar referendum, opposing the designation of the wolf as a game animal.
"The referendum process is the right of citizens to vote to approve or reject new laws passed by legislature," according to Nancy Warren, U.P. resident and Great Lakes Regional Director, National Wolfwatcher Coalition.
Senate Bill 288 would allow the Natural Resources Commission -- an appointed, not elected, decision making body -- to designate any species a game animal and thus a hunted species which cannot be challenged by Michigan voters.
Warren said, "This bill removes the checks and balances currently in place and is an assault against the rights of Michigan citizens."
In a 5-2 vote, SB 288 was approved in Committee today and now moves to the full Senate.* Warren urges Michigan voters to contact their Michigan Senators and Representatives and ask them to oppose SB 288. Don’t let your voice be silenced.
If you are not a Michigan resident, please pass this along to a Michigan voter!
Find your senator:
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. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit www.wolfwatcher.org and http://keepwolvesprotected.com/.
* Editor's Note: The Michigan Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes has 5 Republican members and 2 Democrats. State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), who introduced SB 288, is the chair of this committee. Click here for a Detroit News article on that committee's meeting today, Apr. 11.