Flurry of Activity at State and Federal Levels
In the past week, we have seen a lot of activity on a few of our priority issues at both the state and federal level. At the state level, we celebrated the passage of our anti-poaching and hunting access legislative packages with ceremonial bill signings with Governor Snyder on Wednesday! Members of the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, and MUCC board and staff attended signings on Public Acts 185 and 187-189.
Public Act 185, sponsored by Rep. Charles Smiley (D-Burton), allows hunting from personal assistive mobility devices for hunters with disabilities and eliminates the 150-yard “no hunting” zone around buildings, except for hunting with firearms. This allows bowhunters and trappers to hunt within 150 yards of a neighboring building without requiring written permission from the building owner (assuming hunting or trapping is otherwise permitted). Public Acts 187, 188 and 189, sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) and Sen. Dale Zorn (R-Monroe) increase poaching penalties for elk, moose, bears, turkeys, waterfowl, eagles and hawks. Both packages are based on MUCC policy resolutions and were priorities at Camo at the Capitol.
Another Camo at the Capitol priority was preventing cage culture facilities from being sited in the Great Lakes, where they would pose disease and escapement risks to wild fisheries, as well as effluent release. Even though a scientific panel report stated that there was no technologically feasible manner to prevent this, a dangerous package of legislation to force the state to allow cage culture in the Great Lakes was introduced just this week. We’ll have more analysis on this legislation and more information on how to stop it in the New Year.
Also this week, SB 446, sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge), was passed by both chambers to permanently extend the authority of the Natural Resources Commission to regulate deer and elk feeding, which is critical to preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Michigan. That authority was set to expire on January 1, 2016. Another bill to help the fight against CWD, HB 5146, was introduced by Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette) this week. HB 5146 will increase the penalties to illegally importing deer carcasses into Michigan from a CWD-positive state. The bill will help the DNR’s efforts to “Keep the U.P. CWD Free.”
We had hoped that the Land and Water Conservation Fund would also be permanently extended in the federal omnibus spending bill approved this week. While that did not happen, thanks to your calls and emails and thousands like you across the country, it was renewed for three years intact. Unfortunately, a provision that would have de-listed wolves in the Great Lakes and Wyoming was not included in the spending bill, however, it is still included in the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, and we are continuing our appeal of the federal lawsuit which erroneously put them back on the endangered species list one year ago.
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Also this past week…
Invasive Species | How Your Aquarium Might Have a Ripple Effect in Michigan
Michigan Bear Hunt Results Exceeded Projections
Citizen Science Helping Habitat
Hunting for Local, Sustainable and Organic Meat
Free Chainsaw Safety Training Offered at MUCC
December 24 | MUCC Office Closed through January 4 for Christmas Holiday Season
January 16, 2016 | Chainsaw Training at MUCC Office, Lansing
Thank you for supporting Michigan United Conservation Clubs! Since 1937, we have protected the rights to hunt, fish and trap in Michigan by uniting citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage. To join or renew your membership, visit www.mucc.org! Please also show your thanks to Michigan State University Federal Credit Union and Country Smoke House for supporting MUCC and sponsoring this conservation news update by clicking on their logos above!
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