December 22, 2016
Gov. Snyder signs wolf-hunt bill despite voter opposition
The Humane Society of the United States expressed dismay and exasperation at Gov. Rick Snyder for signing a third wolf-hunting bill, SB 1187 in three years, after voters rejected two similar measures at the ballot box in the general election in November 2014. The Michigan Court of Appeals struck down a third wolf-hunting measure earlier in the month that came to lawmakers through a legislative referendum mechanism but didn’t require the governor’s signature.
SB 1187 mirrors the provisions of Proposal 2, which was defeated in a landslide, with 64 percent of voters saying “no” to the measure. That measure gives the unelected members of the Natural Resources Commission the authority to declare a hunting and trapping season on wolves, which have long been a protected species. Proposal 2 was defeated in Republican- and Democrat-leaning counties up and down and east and west in Michigan, and defeated in 69 of 83 counties, including every county in the Lower Peninsula and Chippewa County in the Upper Peninsula. Michigan voters cast more than 1.8 million votes against Proposal 2 — more votes than any other candidate for statewide office received in their winning campaigns. The “no” vote on Proposal 2 got 250,000 more votes than Gov. Snyder did in winning reelection.
“What part of ‘No’ do Governor Snyder and so many Republican legislators not understand?” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Governor Snyder was legitimately re-elected two years ago, and on that same ballot, the same voters sent an emphatic message that they don’t want trophy hunting of wolves. How does Governor Snyder accept the verdict on his election but dismiss the same voters who decided wolf hunting wasn’t right? This is arrogant and wrong and anti-democratic.”
The two decisive anti-wolf hunting votes demonstrated that a solid majority of Michiganders don’t want the state to sanction the trophy hunting of inedible animals whose population is stable and whose individuals are generally very wary of people. The state Department of Natural Resources says there are fewer than 625 wolves in all of Michigan.
SB 1187, which included a superfluous appropriation solely intended to make it immune to yet another voter referendum and rejection, bypassed one committee hearing and was pushed through with lightning speed in a lame duck session to make it difficult for citizens to have input. “Governor Snyder has affirmed the Michigan’s legislature’s elaborate game of voter circumvention,” added Pacelle.
Michigan’s wolves are still protected under federal law, but there are maneuverings in Congress to undercut a federal court ruling that restored Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the Great Lakes Region.
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