Songbird Protection Coalition
12-29-16 LSJ Editorial: Wolf hunt bill ignores voters
See the LSJ Editorial here, where they concluded: "This trend must stop. Legislators are elected to represent their constituents and act in their best interests. Circumventing democracy by ignoring the obvious will of the people does little to inspire confidence in our statewide leaders. The wolf hunting legislation itself may seem like a minor issue to many. But the overriding tenor of the debate – the majority’s “we-can-do-this-because-we-have-all-the-power” attitude – does not bode well for Michigan’s future."
SB 1187 (Public Act 520) was rushed through a lame-duck session and not only betrayed Michigan voters, but also Michigan's vulnerable and endangered wolves, sandhill cranes, and other protected non-game species...by allowing the unelected and politically appointed Natural Resource Commission (which is not a panel of expert wildlife biologists) to designate traditional non-game animals as game - without citizen oversight or elected accountability. In fact, the NRC does not even have to listen to wildlife biologists in making decisions.
The NRC does not contain experts in the wildlife sciences or even a single wildlife biologist...it is essentially private individuals who are beholden to special interest groups concerned with serving consumptive users over non-consumptive users, as well as serving the extraction industries. See the current NRC appointees here.
The language of SB 1187 was nearly identical to Proposal 2, a referendum on the November 2014 general election ballot that authorized the unelected NRC to designate wolves and other species as game to be hunted. At the time, a provision was tacked onto the bill that became Proposal 2 that prevented the NRC from adding mourning doves to the list of game species. This was done in the hope that mourning dove advocates—recognized as an overwhelmingly powerful force in the state—would withdraw their opposition to the bill if they thought their mourning doves were safe, and would not have the same objection to the trophy hunting of our state’s small population of wolves. Those legislators were wrong; mourning dove advocates maintained their opposition to the bill, and Proposal 2 was overturned by Michigan citizens in a landslide vote in the November 2014 general election, along with Proposal 1, which would have authorized a wolf hunt in Michigan. However, when the legislature rushed SB 1187 through the lame-duck legislative session at the end of 2016 to authorize a wolf hunt (while the wolf is still listed as an endangered species), they once again attached that mourning dove provision, once again thinking nobody would notice or care. They were wrong.