Moot Anti-Hunting Referendums Assigned Ballot Numbers

sayYES2wildlifeToday the Board of State Canvassers assigned ballot numbers to the two moot anti-hunting referendums sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States through its front group, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.
The first referendum, which seeks to repeal Public Act 520 of 2012, which originally named wolves as a game species, will be Proposal 1 on the ballot. The second, which seeks to repeal Public Act 21 of 2013, was assigned Proposal 2. This act originally authorized the Natural Resources Commission to name game species. However, both referendums will be meaningless since the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act was passed last week and will take effect in March.
The Board of State Canvassers also approved the language that will appear on the ballot. MUCC's Drew YoungeDyke spoke before the board and suggested that a specific reference to wolves be removed from the summary of Proposal 2, since the actual act in question is not specific to wolves and applies to multiple species. An attorney for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected asked the Board to insert the word "unelected" before a reference to the Natural Resources Commission. The Board granted neither request.
"The final language reasonably apprises voters of what the legislation does, which is allow the Natural Resources Commission to name game species," said YoungeDyke. "But it doesn't tell them that the NRC has to use sound science, which is an important part of the act."
After the language was adopted, YoungeDyke was asked if MUCC or Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management planned to campaign for a "yes" vote on the referendums.
"We're not going to waste resources on it," he said. "No matter what happens in November, there's not going to be a 2014 wolf hunt because there isn't time for the DNR to scientifically craft a season structure for it. And no matter what happens in November, there will be a hunting season in 2015, 2016 and every year thereafter as long as it continues to be supported by sound science."
That's because the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act will take effect in March. In addition to re-granting the Natural Resources Commission the authority to name game species using sound science, it also reenacts the sections of law that HSUS is trying to repeal. It also contained a $1 million appropriation to protect fisheries from aquatic invasive species, so it is not subject to a third anti-hunting referendum.
Jill Fritz, Michigan director for the Humane Society of the United States and director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, told reporters that they would campaign heavily for a "no" vote on Proposals 1 and 2, including television advertisements. The Humane Society's Legislative Fund spent $750,000 on "media" for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected in late July, according to campaign finance reports.
She also told reporters that they planned to sue to block the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. However, when pressed for a time when a lawsuit might be filed, she declined to answer and said "it depends."
"That's because they don't have a case," said YoungeDyke. "The legal theories they've floated to the press aren't supported by the Michigan Constitution or the case law applying it. But if HSUS wants to spend their money on what amounts to a one-sided public relations poll and unfounded lawsuits, I'm sure their donors will be happy to know that it didn't go to pet shelters like most of them probably thought it would. Every dime they spend on this is a dime that won't help shelter any pets."
Regardless of how much money HSUS spends on advertising against Proposals 1 and 2 this fall, the future of Michigan's scientific wildlife conservation model is secure thanks to passage of the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act last week. However, hunters, anglers, trappers and conservationists are encouraged to vote "YES" for the proposals to send an extra message to HSUS that their money can't buy votes in Michigan.
 
 
 

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