Bait and switch bites wolf hunting proponents

From the editorial board of The Times Herald November 26, 2016

For once, Michigan Legislators’ maneuvers to advance their agenda and satisfy special interests despite public opposition has backfired on them.
In 2014, Michigan voters rejected, by large margins, two proposals that would have legalized wolf hunting in the state. Despite voters’ opposition, the Legislature soon after passed a law allowing the Natural Resources Commission to designate gray wolves as game animals and Gov. Rick Snyder signed it.
To reinforce their disdain for voters, the law included a $1 million appropriation that blocked wolf-hunt opponents from taking it back to voters for another referendum. The conniving didn’t end there. First, the law makes no mention of hunting wolves, although everyone — politicians, lobbyists, opponents and critics — knew that was its point.
Second, just to make sure nobody could call it the classless, cynical ploy that it was, they wrapped the flag around it. The law includes a provision for free hunting and fishing licenses for members of the military.
Fortunately for wolves, bait-and-switch legislation isn’t legal. The state Court of Appeals ruled the law unconstitutional this week.
The “title-object clause” of the Michigan constitution requires lawmakers to be honest and transparent. Lawmakers may not adopt a bill titled “scientific wildlife management,” for instance, when the contents of the bill are something else entirely. A bill named “Legalizing wolf hunting despite voter opposition” would have passed the test, though.
The clause also requires a law to serve a single purpose. A bill that legalizes wolf hunting and also gives away free fishing licenses violates that standard.
The Court of Appeals gives a victory to Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, the group that sued over the 2014 law, and helps it slap lawmakers.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected called the bill as a Trojan horse, with legalizing wolf-hunting “cleverly hidden” among the law’s meandering provisions. There was nothing clever about it; everyone knew. Now the court has made explicit the Legislature’s perfidy.
The fight has moved to Washington, D.C., where lobbyists seek to overturn a federal court ruling that wolves were removed illegally from the Endangered Species List. Let’s hope Congress acts with honesty and transparency. Source


Featured image by John E Marriott

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