Don’t care about wolf hunting? Think again.
The GOP-led Michigan House voted today to deny voters their democratic right to have a say on yet another ballot proposal. In a predictably partisan vote of 65 to 43, they waved through into law, a petition drive from a select group of pro-hunting advocates to codify wolf hunting in the state. Lawmakers did this for two reasons: to appease some far right elements, knowing that a popular vote would likely have protected wolves, and also to suppress democratic voter turn-out in November — when they all face re-election.
The initiative becomes the law of the land without the governor’s signature, as prescribed by the constitution.
Outrage Over the End-run on Democracy.
Kristi Lloyd, democratic process activist and proponent of protecting wolves, had this to say:
It is beyond comprehension that the Michigan legislature, once again, took action to preclude the voters from participating in the democratic process. The lies and misinformation, exaggerations that were given as reasons to hunt wolves and circumvent 400,000+ registered MI signed petitions circulated by Keep Michigan Wolves Protected had a reasonable expectation to have their constitutional right honored. But as seen with other issues in MI they catered to a very small, but well-financed group that pushed for a wolf hunt. I would like to have been surprised today, but I am not disappointed either. I had very low expectations for this GOP-dominated legislature.
A Possible Loophole?
The petition language had an appropriation attached, which renders the law referendum proof. However, that may prove to be the constitutional undoing of the law. There’s something called the “single object clause” which governs the content of laws in Michigan. Article IV, Section 24 of the constitution states the following:A constitutional challenge to the new wolf hunt law could be based on the fact that the enacted law threw-in a couple of enticements, including an un-necessary $1 million bonus package to fight asian carp, plus a clause to allow active duty military personnel to get free hunting and fishing licenses. The purpose of the appropriation, and the sympathetic gimme, was to insulate the law from referendum and to lure petition signers who may have been interested in combating the invasive species or do a kindness for service members, but didn’t give a flip about wolves.
Michigan lawmakers are among the worst in the nation when it comes to derailing citizen-driven initiatives. Earlier today, the Diane Rehm show focused on the subject of ballot initiatives. The show cited Michigan and Missouri legislatures to be the rising stars of the most corrupt in thwarting citizen-driven causes, and shuttling-through corporate and politically motivated measures.
Editorial Boards Flex Some Muscle
Let’s have another look at the growing list of scathing editorials Michigan lawmakers have earned, as we await the list to grow exponentially by this coming Sunday:
These editors and pundits will remember, as endorsement season looms.