Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Michigan newspapers urge lawmakers to allow voters to settle debate on wolf hunt

Photo of wolf courtesy wolfwatcher.org.

LANSING -- Three major newspaper groups -- the Lansing State Journal, Battle Creek Enquirer and the statewide MLive Media Group -- have urged the legislature to allow voters to determine the fate of wolf hunting in Michigan. In recent editorials, all three asked the legislature to send to the November 4th ballot an initiative giving the Natural Resources Commission authority to designate wolves and other protected species as game. The initiative would join two other referendums already on the ballot to overturn laws allowing wolf hunting. Conversely, there has been no editorial support for the initiative, which was put forth by a group called "Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management."*

"When lawmakers return to Lansing on Wednesday (Aug. 13) they’ll have an opportunity to restore respect for the democratic process by rejecting an initiative put forth by the pro-wolf-hunting group Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management," said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. "This initiative is a thinly-veiled attempt to circumvent nearly one-half million Michigan residents who signed petitions during two referendum campaigns to stop wolf hunting."

The Lansing State Journal said this on Aug. 10, 2014: "The constitution allows the Legislature to act, but in this case it would be wise for lawmakers to send the question directly to the ballot. Both sides have demonstrated formidable public support; both sides have worked the petition powers in the constitution to advantage. That’s not uncommon. It happened in 2012 with six ballot proposals, several funded by special interest groups, all of which got defeated. But the current Legislature -- abetted by special interests -- has been particularly quick to pass laws to prevent voters from having a say. They did it with Michigan’s minimum wage, boosting it to $9.25 for 2018, in part to block a ballot proposal that would have taken it above $10. By blocking not one but two efforts to refer legislation to voters, lawmakers would send a bad signal. Let voters spend the next three months considering the merits of the proposals. In 2012, voters were discerning. Given the chance, they will be so again."

Click here for the full Lansing State Journal editorial.

The MLive editorial said on Aug. 4, 2014: "Michigan citizens have been deprived once of voting on wolf hunting. Now, state legislators are poised again to make an end run around voters. MLive Media Group is calling on elected officials to resist hijacking the public process a second time and allow voters in November to decide whether wolf hunting should be controlled by the Legislature or by a commission appointed by the governor….

"If lawmakers do not act, all three proposals -- two against, one for a wolf hunt -- would appear on the ballot, allowing voters to have the final say. For once, we are asking lawmakers to do nothing. At this time, we’re not arguing for or against a wolf hunt. What we are calling for is an ethical, democratic process. The process that led to the 2013 wolf hunt was neither."

Click here for the full MLive editorial.

The Battle Creek Enquirer said on July 26, 2014, "There is no imperative -- no pressing public interest -- to establish a wolf hunt, certainly not against the will of the majority of Michigan voters, all of whom share an equal stake in the preservation of our natural resources. If lawmakers give a lick about the rights of its citizens and the democratic process, they will let voters decide this issue."

Click here to read the rest of this article on Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

* UPDATED AUG. 13: This initiative, PASSED BY THE MICHIGAN REPUBLICAN SENATE TODAY, misleadingly called the "Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act," may come before the Michigan House of Representatives ON AUG. 27. Click here to learn why you should call your state representative and ask him/her to vote against it.

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