LANSING –– Today, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that a 2014 state law passed to circumvent a citizen vote blocking a proposed Michigan wolf hunt is unconstitutional. The law would have enabled state wildlife officials to resume a wolf hunt if the species were dropped from federal Endangered Species Act protections in the Great Lakes region.
Jill Fritz, director for wildlife protection at The Humane Society of the United States, and director of the successful Keep Michigan Wolves Protected ballot referendum campaign, issued the following statement:
“This was a blatant power grab by politicians to take away voting rights from Michigan citizens. We are delighted the court has rejected the legislature’s outrageous attempt to subvert the will of the people of Michigan, and declared unconstitutional the legislature’s attempt to force a wolf hunt. This ruling restores the people’s decision, in two statewide votes, overwhelmingly rejecting the trophy hunting and commercial trapping of the state’s small population of wolves.”
In 2014, in the first-ever statewide votes related to wolf hunting in any state, Michigan voters sent a loud and clear message against a wolf hunting season and against the Natural Resources Commission having unilateral authority to transfer any “protected” species to the “game species” list. Voters repealed Proposal 1 (moving the wolf to the game species list) with a 55 percent “no” vote, and they defeated Proposal 2 (giving the NRC the authority to decide which species can be hunted), with a 64 percent “no” vote. Proposal 2 was defeated in 69 of 83 counties, in a landslide rejection of NRC game species decision-making power. Michigan voters cast more than 1.8 million votes against Proposal 2—more votes than any other candidate for statewide office received in that same election.