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Bear Cub Petting Zoo Bill Will Come Up Again In 2013

Black bear at a Michigan petting zoo.

State lawmakers start their new session this week. Some of the first bills likely to come up would ease restrictions on owning and breeding large carnivores like tigers and bears.

Similar bills passed the state House and Senate last month. But Governor Rick Snyder vetoed them. Part of the legislation would have eased breeding restrictions and changed some licensing requirements for zoos. The governor said the language would compromise public safety.

Snyder says he does support a measure letting the public interact with bear cubs up to 36 weeks old at petting zoos. Right now, the cubs can’t be older than 20 weeks.

Republican state Senator Tom Casperson says he’ll reintroduce that language as a stand-alone bill.

“So we’re going to re-do what we’ve got," Casperson says. "I think the governor will support my part of it, and that’s what we’re hoping. So we’re going to re-do it.”

Lawmakers also plan to reintroduce the breeding and licensing bill separately.

Jake Neher is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He covers the State Legislature and other political events in Lansing.
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