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Senate Measure Could Bypass Wolf Hunt

The Michigan Senate has approved legislation that would name the gray wolf and 38 other animals as game species in Michigan.

As we hear from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta, the measure would also circumvent a referendum next year on wolf hunting in the Upper Peninsula.

The ballot campaign turned in more than 250 thousand petition signatures. If and when they’re certified, the wolf hunting law will be suspended until after the November 20-14 election.

State Senator Tom Casperson says he respects the right of Michigan voters to challenge laws they don’t like. But he says wildlife decisions – especially those that affect public safety – should be left to experts with the state Department of Natural Resources.

   “Let’s take it away from biology through referendum,”  he says.

Opponents of wolf hunting say lawmakers should let voters decide, and not do an end run around their referendum on the earlier law. A budget expenditure that would make this new bill referendum-proof was removed just before the Senate’s final vote.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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