by Ryan Felton
LANSING — A second ballot proposal to try to stop the hunt of gray wolves in the Upper Peninsula was deemed to have enough valid signatures on Tuesday and will appear on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.
The proposal, which would repeal a law passed by the Legislature in 2012, had 182,732 valid signatures, exceeding the required 161,305 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
If you haven't been following Michigan's wolf hunting saga, know this: By the time the general election comes around, there may be three ballot proposals asking for your thoughts on wolves, and if they should be hunted. (If you need a good primer on why Michigan went this route, Keith Matheny of the Freep did an excellent story last year that you can find here.)
First, Michigan legislators passed a law during the hellish 2012 lame duck session designating wolves as a species that could be hunted. Then, the Natural Resources Commission set a hunt for last fall.
A group immediately responded to the slated hunt and gathered enough signatures to ask voters in the November 2014 election to repeal the law that started the entire process, PA 520.
But, because our state lawmakers have a penchant for democracy, the legislature passed a second bill, which allowed the Natural Resources Commission to designate wolves as a game species unilaterally, without legislative approval. Therefore, the first ballot referendum approved for the November 2014 ballot is nullified.
Confused? Annoyed? We agree. It's ridiculous. Try to keep up.
The proposal approved today for the ballot would repeal that second law, PA 21 of 2013. If those both are approved by voters (we guess?), the wolf hunt would be called off.
Meanwhile, a group dedicated to preserving the wolf hunt is collecting signatures for an initiative that would give the Legislature a chance to strengthen PA 21 before the referendum on it comes to a vote in November. And if the Legislature fails to act on that petition initiative, the proposal would wind up on the November ballot alongside the other two wolf questions.So, if the Legislature doesn't act on the pro-wolf hunt's referendum, there would be three wolf ballot proposals for voters to decide. And, as the Freep reports, it that one receives the most votes, the anti-wolf group's proposals would be axed. Are you lost? As Stephen Henderson, correctly, pointed out in March, that's the point of all this bullshit, no? To ensure voters are so wildly confused that they simply check off no for everything? That was the buzz around town in 2012 when the state had six proposals on the ballot. Voters would be overwhelmed and choose 'no' for everything. This all stems from Lansing's insistence to override the will of the people. There was a simple ballot proposal that would've let voters decide if the wolf hunt should stand. But lawmakers weren't having it. And because of that, we'll have a confusing ballot. Well done.