Bipartisan Agreement on Scientific Wildlife Management in House Natural Resources Committee

The Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources passed SB 288 and 289 today by a vote of 8-0. The bills, called the Scientific Wildlife Management Package, ensure that wildlife is managed using sound science and protects the rights to hunt and fish. They were both introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson (R – Escanaba). The committee is chaired by Rep. Andrea LaFontaine (R – Columbus Twp.).

In 1996, Michigan voters mandated the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to use sound science in its wildlife management decisions through Proposal G, which also granted the NRC exclusive authority to make game regulations. SB 288 extends that authority and sound science mandate to listing game species and issuing fisheries orders. It also provides free hunting, fishing and trapping licenses to active members of the military. SB 289 codifies the rights to hunt and fish in state statute and makes protection of those rights a purpose of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.

“Republicans and Democrats don’t always agree, but the bipartisan members of the House Natural Resources Committee agreed today that Michigan wildlife should be managed using sound science,” said Erin McDonough, executive director for Michigan United Conservation Clubs. “It’s great to see our elected officials putting conservation ahead of politics. We thank Rep. LaFontaine for listening to the hunters, anglers and trappers of Michigan and bringing these bills before the committee, and we thank the committee for passing this common-sense legislation.”

The bill package now goes to the full House of Representatives, where 41 bipartisan representatives co-sponsored identical original legislation introduced by Rep. Jon Bumstead (R – Newago). The substitute version of SB 288 passed by the Senate removes an appropriation and specifically exempts doves from the NRC’s game designation authority under the bill.

Logo courtesy Michigan United Conservation Clubs

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