LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Supporters of regulated wolf hunts in Michigan are hoping the state House will allow them to continue while nullifying citizen referendums on the issue scheduled for the November election.
The House convenes at noon Wednesday in Lansing. A spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger says a measure dealing with wolf hunts is tentatively scheduled to come up, although a vote is not certain.
The Senate has already approved the legislation, which was initiated by hunting and outdoors groups that gathered hundreds of thousands of petition signatures. It would allow the appointed Natural Resources Commission to determine whether to schedule hunting seasons for the once-endangered and now resurgent gray wolf.
If approved by both chambers, it would render moot two ballot initiatives on wolf hunting that voters will consider in the general election. The measure does not need Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature because it was initiated by outside groups.
Democrats have decried the move as circumventing direct democracy and said majority Republicans should let the bill go to the ballot in front of voters. But Republicans have said the legislation reaffirms the previous wishes of voters who approved a 1996 law giving the Natural Resources Commission authority to set hunting policy based on scientific data.
Last year, the Natural Resources Commission scheduled Michigan’s first wolf hunt in decades under authority granted by legislators. The state had authorized a take of 43 wolves, although only 22 were killed in the November-December hunt.
The last time the Legislature enacted an initiated law rather than let it go to voters was last December. Republicans approved a Right to Life-led initiative requiring residents or businesses that want insurance coverage for elective abortions to buy extra coverage in advance, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
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