wolf hunting

Al Warren

The petition drive to put a second referendum challenging a Michigan law that allows wolf hunting can go ahead.

A state elections board has approved the form of the petition today.

Now the campaign can start gathering signatures to put the question on the November 2014 ballot.

If the campaign succeeds, it will be the second hunting referendum on next year’s ballot.

The first challenges an earlier wolf hunting law.

Jill Fritz is with the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign. She says the second hunting law was passed with a specific purpose.

“And that was to stop our referendum from maintaining protection for Michigan’s wolves. We all know that,” said Fritz. “Everybody understands that, and that’s why we’re doing the second referendum.”

Opponents of the referendum on the hunting law asked the panel to strip any mention of wolf hunting from the summary on the petition describing what it would do. They said the hunting law encompasses more than wolves.

The request was refused.

Kent Wood is with the Michigan Wildlife Coalition, which opposes the referendum drive.

“Really, truly, the next step for us is to continue to organize our campaign the signatures, our decline to sign campaign.”

Wood says a court challenge is not out of the question.

Despite these petition efforts, a wolf hunt is scheduled to take place this November.

Matthileo / Flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss Governor Snyder and Randy Richardville's final efforts to expand Medicaid, a bill recently signed to dissolve financially struggling school districts in Michigan, and another ballot initiative to ban wolf hunting.

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Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law which would allow the state to consolidate small, financially struggling school districts with neighboring districts. Inskter in metro Detroit and Buena Vista in Saginaw County would be the first districts affected. Snyder also announced that a work group would be trying to develop a better system for fixing schools with looming financial problems.

"There is a new petition drive to put a referendum on a wolf-hunting law on the November 2014 ballot. If it’s successful, this would be the second ballot challenge to a Michigan wolf hunt. This drive takes aim at the new hunting law adopted after a previous ballot campaign turned in enough petitions to suspend the earlier wolf-hunting law," Rick Pluta reports.

The Detroit City Council is holding off on replacing its leadership over lingering legal questions. The Council will vote next week on who will replace Charles Pugh as Council President. Pugh has been missing for several weeks, and he has been stripped of his pay and responsibilities. The Council will also select a President Pro-Tem, its second-highest leadership position.

Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

The group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has filed language with the Secretary of State to put another petition on the 2014 ballot. The group wants to ban wolf hunting in Michigan.

If the language is approved, the group will try and collect more than 160 thousand signatures to put the question to voters.

Rick Pluta, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network joined us today to discuss what this new ballot will do.

Listen to the full interview above.

Do you trust your government? What about your government? Do your elected leaders trust you?

Disapproval rates of Congress are at all-time lows - gridlock, and indecision. Can we change the dynamic, and what does it mean going forward?

And census results show a surprising trend: the state's male population is growing. We took a look at what's behind the numbers.

Also we spoke with Michael Narlock, head of Astronomy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, about the best places to go in Michigan for stargazing this summer.

And Darrin Camilleri, President of the Michigan Federation of College Democrats, joined us to talk about increasing tuition and raised interested rates for student loans.

Also we continued our week-long series of stories from immigrants about what America means to them.

Today we heard from Linda Steinke, whose family came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1970s when her father had the opportunity to work in the auto industry.

First on the show, the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected has filed language with the Secretary of State to put another petition on the 2014 ballot. The group wants to ban wolf hunting in Michigan.

If the language is approved, the group will try and collect more than 160 thousand signatures to put the question to voters.

Rick Pluta, the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network joined us today.

MDNR

The political ping-pong match between those who want to hunt wolves, and those who want to stop a hunt continues. 

As of today, there is a new challenge to Michigan's most-recent wolf hunting law (Public Act 21 of 2013). Governor Snyder signed it into law this past May after enforcement of a previous law was suspended by a petition drive.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Petition to ban abortion coverage allowed to move forward

A state elections board has given the go-ahead to a petition drive by anti-abortion groups to prohibit insurance companies from covering abortion in basic health policies.  

“To get this measure before the Legislature, Right to Life needs to gather more than a quarter-million signatures. If it’s approved by the Legislature, the law could not be vetoed. If lawmakers don’t approve the initiative, it would go to the ballot for voter approval,” Rick Pluta reports.  

Michigan communities face population loss in 2012

The Detroit Free Press reports that roughly two out of three Michigan communities lost residents during 2011-2012, according to the US Census. But the state’s overall population grew slightly and most declines were modest in size. Michigan’s total population increased by more than 6,500 people between 2011-2012.

Wolf hunt referendum will be on ballot

A referendum on a state law allowing a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula will be on the ballot in November 2014.

“Petitions to let voters decide whether a law allowing a wolf hunt should remain on the books were certified yesterday by a state elections panel...But the Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder also approved a second law. It circumvents the referendum and still allows the state to establish wolf seasons.” Rick Pluta reports.

Gray wolves.
USFWS / Flickr

A referendum to let voters decide the fate of a law that allows wolf hunts in northern Michigan will appear on the November 2014 ballot.

The campaign’s petitions to get on the ballot were certified today by a state elections board.

Jill Fritz leads the campaign Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

"We’re going to start our educational campaign to get the issue out there and educate the voters about the issue, and look forward to seeing the people of Michigan speak out against wolf hunting and trapping in the November-2014 election," Fritz said.

The ballot campaign still has to make a decision on what to do about a second law that allows the state to establish wolf hunts, including one to be held in November of this year.

It was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Snyder after the petition drive was launched earlier this year.

Fritz says a lawsuit is not out of the question.

The law was passed as a way to help control wolves that have moved into populated parts of the western U.P.

endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com

The Board of State Canvassers met today in Lansing. They took up two controversial issues: one involving abortion coverage and another about wolf hunting in Michigan.

The Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Rick Pluta, was at the meeting earlier today. He joined us in the studio to talk about these two issues.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Wolf hunt approved

"There will be a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula this fall. The state Natural Resources Commission OKed the hunt yesterday," Steve Carmody reports.

Pontiac and Buena Vista schools in financial trouble

"A Michigan report says the Pontiac School District's finances are in bleak shape and the district might not be able to make payroll soon. The district faces a  $37.7 million deficit. Meanwhile, the Buena Vista School District shut down this month after it ran out of money and couldn't pay teachers," the Associated Press reports.

Medicaid expansion proposed in House

"Republicans in the state House have introduced a bill to overhaul and expand Medicaid in Michigan. Among other things, it would limit able-bodied adults to four years in the program," Jake Neher reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A state board authorized a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula on Thursday.

The decision comes after months of passionate debate.

Carol Smith is one of many people who urged the Natural Resources Commission to reject the proposed wolf hunt in the U.P.

“I really worry about our state’s legacy if we allow wolf hunting,” Smith told the commission.

But there were also people who urged approval of the hunt.  And in the end, the commission voted six to one to authorize it.

Times have changed. In Michigan we plan on killing wolves because some feel there are too many. It's a different story on Isle Royale where the wolf population is hanging on by a thread. But because Isle Royale National Park is a designated wilderness area, we, as humans, have pledged not to intervene. So what should we do? The National Park Service has a big decision to make. The folks who have been studying this place for a long time share their thoughts in this op-ed piece.

Gray wolves.
USFWS / Flickr

The Natural Resources Commission has approved a wolf hunt for the Upper Peninsula. The panel heard from supporters and opponents before the vote.

State wildlife officials counted 658 wolves this winter. Officials hope to kill 43 wolves in the hunt.  

The hunt will take place in three separate zones in the Upper Peninsula beginning November 15, 2013.

The Gray Wolf until recently was listed as an endangered species by the federal government. The wolf population has grown dramatically in the last decade.

Some have complained that the increasing wolf population has led to an increase in attacks on livestock and pets in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Opponents of the wolf hunt claim it is not needed and that a hunt will not address problem wolves.

endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com

Governor Rick Snyder has signed Senate Bill 288. That could clear the way for a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

His signature clears the way for the state's Natural Resources Commission to vote on a recommendation to hold a limited wolf hunt this fall in three parts of the UP.

The Governor told Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith that he believes the NRC will base its decision on what he called "sound scientific principles."

"If you think about it, I think sound scientific principals are how we should decide these things, to make sure we are doing the proper environmental functions that protect whatever species we're talking about, so it's sustainable for the long term," said Snyder.

More than quarter of a million Michiganders  signed a petition asking to put a wolf hunt proposal on the November 2014 ballot. And the coalition called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected says Senate Bill 288 is a deliberate attempt by lawmakers to circumvent their petition effort.

The Governor's response?

user metassus / Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder signed a law yesterday afternoon that will allow a state wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Later today, Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission is expected to vote on whether to authorize the hunt. That decision could have an effect on one town on the far western edge of the Upper Peninsula.

Ironwood is about as far west as you can go in the Upper Peninsula.   This town of about 5,000 is a small town with a big wolf problem. 

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Governor Snyder signs wolf hunt bill

“Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation for a second time that would permit wolf hunts in Michigan. The governor signed the new law a day before the Michigan Natural Resources Commission is expected to approve a wolf-hunting season in some parts of the western Upper Peninsula. That’s despite a pending referendum challenge to the earlier wolf-hunting law,” Rick Pluta reports.

Bill would keep drunk driving limits the same

Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign legislation today that will keep the legal limit for drivers’ blood-alcohol content at 0.08 percent.

“The limit is set to revert back to 0.10 percent in October because of a sunset provision in current state law. The state would lose more than $50 million in federal funding for the state's highways if the limit rises,” the Associated Press reports.

Fracking debate intensifies

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is holding an auction today for state-owned oil and gas lease rights, prompting a heated debate over the expansion of hydraulic fracturing.

According to the Detroit News,

“Armed guards were present a week ago Tuesday at a public hearing held by Michigan's departments of natural resources and environmental quality to discuss drilling and the controversial natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking."

MLive.com reports that environmental groups are planning protests outside the Lansing Center today, where the auction will take place.

Al Warren

This week, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission is expected to vote on whether to authorize a wolf hunt.

The hunt would take place in three separate zones in the Upper Peninsula

I traveled to the U.P. to talk with people who live near wolves to get their thoughts on the proposed hunt.

For many years, gray wolves were listed as an endangered species in Michigan. That ended last year.  But the battle between the wolves and locals in the Upper Peninsula has been going on for some time.   

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No-fault overhaul moves forward

"A state House panel has voted on a bill to overhaul Michigan’s auto no-fault system. Right now, people who are severely injured in an auto accident can get unlimited lifetime medical benefits. The legislation would cap those benefits at $1 million," Jake Neher reports.

House adopts wolf hunting bill

"The state House has approved a measure that would allow an Upper Peninsula wolf hunt to go ahead regardless of a referendum on the question," Rick Pluta reports.

Health insurance for live-in partners stays

"A decision to provide health insurance to same-sex domestic partners of Michigan state government employees is intact. In an order released Thursday, the state Supreme Court unanimously declined to hear an appeal filed by Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette. The state health insurance plan covers non-family members who've lived continuously with state workers for at least a year," the Associated Press reports.

The state House has approved a bill that would allow a wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula to go forward regardless of the result of a possible state-wide referendum on a wolf hunt.

The bill was approved last week by the state Senate, and Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign it.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

cncphotos / flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss the race for the Senate seat left vacant by Carl Levin, legislation that would allow a wolf hunt despite a petition against it, and Governor Snyder's call for businesses to become more directly involved in schools.

Christian Jansky / wikimedia commons

A state House committee is holding a hearing on a measure that would change how hunting is managed in Michigan, and bypass a referendum on wolf hunting if it’s on the ballot next year.

Two questions have dominated the hearing on the bill.

  1. Whether hunting is an appropriate part of plans to manage wolves in the Upper Peninsula
  2. Whether the Legislature should approve a new law to allow wolf hunts before the referendum.

Ellie Mayes circulated petitions to put the referendum on the ballot.

“This is a subversion of democracy. The entire point of the bill is to do an end run around a referendum,” she said.

“It is possible for a minority to be silenced. In this case, the minority is very isolated.”

State Representative Ed McBroom (R-Escanaba) is from the western UP.

He says pets and livestock are endangered in pockets of the UP and how to manage that problem should not be a question that’s voted on by the entire state.

“This issue is isolated to the Upper Peninsula and the people of the UP are at great risk of being totally disenfranchised by the rest of the state of Michigan on an issue that’s critical on the future of our well-being,” said McBroom.

The anti-wolf hunting campaign says the Legislature should not ignore the wishes of 255,000 people who signed petitions to put the question on the ballot.

Petition circulator Judy Brock showed up to oppose the legislation.

“And I’m representing those people who signed the petition who wanted this issue to be put on the ballot. Everyone that signed the petition when we collected knew exactly what this was about, and wanted the opportunity to vote on the issue, and that’s being taken away from us,” she said.

The question would still be on the ballot once the petitions are certified by state elections officials. However, the results of the election would not stop a wolf hunt if a new law is adopted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Snyder.

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Lawmakers try to block referendum to wolf hunt

"The state Senate has approved legislation that would make a voter referendum on wolf-hunting in Michigan irrelevant – even before the question has been formally approved for the November ballot. The measure would name the wolf and 38 other animals as game species. That’s despite a looming voter challenge to a new state law that allows wolf hunting," Rick Pluta reports.

Education Achievement Authority in financial trouble, borrows $12 million from DPS

The state run school district meant to turn around the lowest performing schools has been found to borrow $12 million from Detroit Public Schools.  The Education Achievement Authority took over 15 former Detroit Public Schools this school year.

Unemployment rate down statewide

"Michigan says that the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate is down statewide and in all 17 major labor markets. The lowest rate in the March report was for Ann Arbor at 5.1 percent. The highest was for the northeastern Lower Peninsula at 13.1 percent," the Associated Press reports.

I don’t know whether it makes sense to ever allow people to hunt wolves in the Upper Peninsula or not. Nor do I have any strong emotional feeling about this. 

Personally, I don’t see killing things that can’t fight back as a sport. But I have also, years ago, interviewed farmers and ranchers who lost livestock to wolves.

I’m not sure whether it would be more dangerous to be a pen with a wolf or in a room with one of those ranchers if you told him you wanted to outlaw his right to hunt down wolves.

Lots of people, however, do have very strong feelings about this, and about bills now before the legislature that would allow the government to say what species could be hunted.

Not only that, the bill now in the senate would cleverly take away the people’s right to ever repeal this bill, or to designate a protected species, as the voters did with mourning doves a few years ago. That strikes me as unethical and unfair.

Rick Pluta

The state Senate is poised to vote on a measures that would circumvent a referendum on the law that allows wolf hunting. More than a hundred demonstrators showed up at the state Capitol today to protest the legislation.

It would let an appointed state board determine what species may be hunted.

Julie Baker led the ballot campaign to reverse the 1996 law that allowed hunting of mourning doves.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

We really hadn’t heard much about referendum-proofing since back in December and the Legislature’s now-infamous “lame duck” session. But the wait is over. We now have a new controversy and a new referendum-proofed bill before the state Senate which could be voted on as early as next week.

We’ve talked about referendum-proofing before on It’s Just Politics, it’s when the Legislature wants to make sure a controversial bit of business can’t be reversed by voters using the referendum, lawmakers put a little spending in it. That makes the legislation an appropriation, and to protect the full faith and credit of the state, the Michigan Constitution says that’s the only kind of law that can’t be challenged by a referendum.

Referendum-proofing has been going on for a long time but, it’s really picked up steam in the last three years. The Republican-majority ruled state Legislature now regularly makes its controversial work immune to referendums – the repeal of the item pricing law, the income tax on pensions, and the controversial right to work law, just to name a few.

Strangely, the Legislature did not referendum-proof the first emergency manager law it passed in the last session, and after voters rejected it last November, turned around and passed a new emergency manager law with a referendum-proofing appropriation in it.

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International bridge crossing to be announced today

"Governor Rick Snyder is expected to announce this afternoon that the federal government has approved a deal to build a new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor-Ontario," Rick Pluta reports.
 

McCotter sues staffers for forged nomination peitions

"Ex-Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter has sued a former top aide and an ex-intern, saying they deliberately submitted forged nominating petitions in his name to keep him from seeking re-election.  Elections officials discovered bogus signatures on the Livonia Republican's petitions, keeping him off the 2012 primary ballot. McCotter quit Congress in July," the Associated Press reports.

Legislation could approve wolf hunting with no room for a referendum

"The state Senate could vote as soon as next week on legislation that could throw a wrench in an effort to ban wolf-hunting. The legislation would allow hunting of 39 species – including wolves. And it would be immune to a referendum," Rick Pluta reports.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission meets about a wolf hunt in Michigan.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The referendum effort to stop a wolf hunt in Michigan has been called "a radical agenda" by those opposed to it.

Now, new legislation introduced by State Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) seeks to deflate that referendum drive.

The Michigan Legislature listed the wolf as a potential game species late last year. The group "Keep Michigan Wolves Protected" says they collected enough signatures to put the question in front of voters.

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Wildlife officials recommend wolf hunt for Upper Peninsula

State wildlife officials are recommending today that a hunt on the formerly endangered gray wolf be allowed to take place this fall.

"The Michigan Natural Resources Commission will receive a recommendation to kill 47 wolves as part of a hunt focused in three parts of the Upper Peninsula," Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports.
 

Detroit City Council reviewing Jones Day contract

The Detroit City Council is reviewing a contract with Jones Day, emergency manager Kevyn Orr's former law firm.

"The Jones Day firm is already working with the city on some long-term restructuring. Some Council members suggest there are conflicts of interest because Jones Day also represents several Detroit creditors," according to Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek.

New Regional Transit Authority meets for first time

Transit advocates celebrated the first meeting of metro Detroit's Regional Transit Authority, which will coordinate the region's transit agencies.

"Advocates want the board to develop a master transit plan, and push a region-wide vote to fund transit operations," Sarah Cwiek reports.

endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com

State wildlife officials plan to recommend Thursday that Michigan hold a wolf hunt this Fall in the U.P.

Gray wolves in Michigan were until recently listed as an endangered species. There are about 700 wolves in Michigan. Farmers say the growing wolf population is a threat to livestock.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission will receive a recommendation to kill 47 wolves, as part of a hunt, focused in three parts of the Upper Peninsula. The commission may vote next month to set the dates for a wolf hunt.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People fighting a proposed wolf hunt in Michigan are celebrating a milestone today.

They delivered a quarter million petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office this morning.   The petition calls for a statewide vote on the law authorizing the wolf hunt.

Jill Fritz is the director of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign.    She’s optimistic that state officials will validate enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

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