Second referendum launched to keep Michigan wolves protected

from Keep Michigan Wolves Protected

In response to overwhelming disaffection from Michigan wolf supporters over an effort by some legislators to subvert their original ballot measure, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected filed language with the Secretary of State to launch a second referendum campaign to stop the trophy hunting and trapping of wolves and restore the right of Michigan voters to weigh in on critical wildlife issues.

“This second referendum will preserve the impact of our first referendum that has already been certified for the ballot – ensuring Michigan voters have the right to protect wolves and other wildlife matters,” said Jill Fritz, director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected. “Michiganders deserve to have their voices heard on the wolf issue, and we hope they’ll have an opportunity to vote on two ballot measures next year to do just that.”

The second law that the legislature enacted not only allows the seven-member Natural Resources Commission to open up a wolf hunting and trapping season, but it also allows those small group of political appointees (most of whom have no wildlife management experience) to open up a hunting season for any species classed as ’protected’ under state law.

“This bill is a radical overreach by some state lawmakers, and it’s only fair to allow citizens to weigh in on this important question of wildlife policy,” added Fritz.

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected (website http://keepwolvesprotected.

com) is aiming to collect at least 225,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.

Timeline: December 2012 – A bill was rushed through the House and Senate that designates wolves a game species and authorizes the Natural Resources Commission to establish an open season on wolves. Gov. Snyder signs the bill into law and it becomes known as Public Act 520 of 2012.

Jan.  2013 - Keep Michigan Wolves Protected forms. A coalition of conservation groups, animal welfare organizations, Native American tribes, wildlife scientists, veterinarians, hunters, farmers and more than 7,000 citizens in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas launches a petition drive to protect the state’s fragile wolf population.

March 2013 – After 67 days, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected submits more than 255,000 signatures in an effort to overturn the law that allows for the cruel and pointless hunting and trapping of wolves.

May 2013 – Legislators circumvent the will of the voters and pass Senate Bill 288 just weeks after the qualifying signatures were submitted, allowing the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, in addition to the legislature, to add animals to the list of game species that can be hunted. If the NRC makes such a designation, Michigan voters would be unable to reverse their decision because it is an act of a regulatory body and not the legislature.

May 2013 – The Board of State Canvassers certifies Keep Michigan Wolves Protected petition signatures to place the wolf hunt referendum on 2014 ballot.