McBroom is encouraged by support for his new bills

Michigan lawmakers are back in their home districts tonight. The legislature went on its annual 12-week summer break Thursday night. One U.P. lawmaker is encouraged by support for two new bills that he recently introduced.

State Representative Ed McBroom of Vulcan wrote House Bill 5226, which would allow licensed bear hunters to hunt bears outside of the open season if they take a bear that’s causing damage to crops or animal feed. Farmers would first need a state crop damage permit, though. Then they’d have to get their own bear hunting license or find a licensed hunter to kill the bear for them.

“Farmers around the state, we’ve all had an opportunity at some point or another to experience severe bear damage in our fields or, for the fruit guys, in their orchards,” Rep. McBroom said. “We’ve been looking into and working on a solution to this for several years.”

McBroom also recently wrote House Joint Resolution GG, which would make a drastic change to the Michigan Board of Education. Its eight members are currently elected at-large, without representing any particular region. McBroom’s bill would create regional representation, with each member being elected from a specific district.

“Seven of those (current) members come from the Detroit metro area, and right now, one comes from Grand Rapids,” he said. “How are we supposed to have diverse understanding and perspective of schools in this state, of the different needs of schools in rural areas?”

The bear hunting bill has already passed the full House. A Senate committee will take up the measure once the summer recess is over.

The Board of Education bill will go to the House floor after the recess. For that bill to take effect, both the full Senate and the full House need to approve it by a two-thirds supermajority. Then Michigan voters would have to agree to amend the state constitution to create the new structure for the board.