With lame duck in full swing, Michigan United Conservation Clubs has been busy at the Capitol working to be the insiders for your outdoor traditions. We fully expect the lame duck session to run through Dec. 20, and MUCC has been tracking and working some important bills:
- SB 1035 – This bill would allow sportsmen’s clubs to become exempt from property taxes providing they can pass a six-part test and sign an affidavit stating they are meeting the criteria required to remain tax-exempt each year. MUCC has put a lot of effort into getting this bill moved, and we will be calling on our members within the coming weeks to make calls and send emails. MUCC supports this bill. This bill passed the Senate late last week and has been referred to the House Committee on Tourism and Recreation.
- SB 1211 – This Sen. Casperson-sponsored bill has been receiving lots of press within the last week. This amended bill would change the definition of a wetland, weakening or eliminating protection of many Michigan’s wetlands. MUCC opposes this bill, along with our partners at Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, and National Wildlife Federation. The bill was approved today in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and passed the full Senate as well.
- SB 1145 – This bill would allow the bi-catch of lake trout by commercial fishermen, which has been prohibited since the 1960s. This bill, if passed, could have serious ramifications for not only lake trout, but also could interfere with the upcoming tribal negotiations on the Great Lakes Consent Decree beginning next year. MUCC opposes this bill and any bill that opens up the taking of game species for commercial use. The bill is currently on the Senate floor.
- HB 5711 – Allows a child under 14 to shoot big game with a firearm on public land, when accompanied by a parent or guardian (currently ages 11-14 are limited only to small game and turkeys). MUCC Supports. Passed House, on Senate floor.
- SB 1141 – A bill to name the recreation passport after the late Senator Patty Birkholz. Passed the Senate today. MUCC supports.
- SR 179 – Resolution to support the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife. On Senate floor. MUCC supports.
- SR 132 – Resolution to support the designation of the Flint River Water Trail and the Shiawassee River Water Trail as national water trails by the National Park Service. Placed on order of resolutions. MUCC supports
- HB 6532-6536 – A five bill package that would repeal the Michigan Bottle Deposit Law. The Bottle Bill is one of Michigan’s greatest conservation legacies, and it was led by Michigan United Conservation Clubs. MUCC opposes this bill package. It has been referred to the House Committee on MIchigan Competitiveness.
- HB 5321-The game sterilization bill to put a 4-year moritorium on further “scientific research permits” to sterilize deer and other game species, as they have done in Ann Arbor. Currently, on the Senate floor where we are watching it closely—the advocates of sterilization continue to try and amend this bill to allow sterilization permits in new urban areas.
Two weeks ago, the Army Core of Engineers announced that the price tag for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam plan nearly tripled. However, the $778 million plan to keep Asian carp out the Great Lakes pales in comparison to the $7 billion sport fishery Michigan boasts that would be destroyed should the invasive carp enter the Great Lakes. Read more here.