Michigan Wildlife Management Referendum, Proposal G (1996)

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A Michigan Wildlife Management Referendum, Proposal G (1996) was on the November 7, 1996 election ballot in Michigan as an legislatively-referred state statute, where it was approved.

  • Yes: 2,413,730 (68.7%) Approveda
  • No: 1,099,262 (31.3%)

Text of the proposal

The language that appeared on the ballot:

[NOTE: Because Proposal G received a majority of the votes cast, PA 377 takes effect.]

Proposal G is a referendum on Public Act 377 of 1996, which would amend the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) to grant the Natural Resources Commission exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game in this state. The amendment also would require the Commission, to the greatest extent practicable, to use principles of sound scientific management in making decisions regarding the taking of game. The Commission would have to issue orders regarding the taking of game after a public meeting and an opportunity for public input. (The NREPA defines "game" as any of 38 listed birds and mammals, including bear, deer, duck, geese, rabbit, pheasant, and ruffed and sharptailed grouse. Only the Michigan Legislature may designate a species of bird or mammal as "game." The term "principles of sound scientific management" is not defined in current or proposed law.)

Current Game Management

The Director of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) currently has the responsibility for managing the state's animals and, to fulfill that responsibility, may issue various types of orders, including orders to establish open seasons for taking game, to specify lawful methods of taking game, and to determine the criteria for the issuance of hunting licenses. The DNR prepares orders after comments from DNR field personnel and interested persons have been solicited and considered. An order must be on the DNR's agenda for at least one month before its consideration, and the DNR must provide an opportunity for public comment on the order. According to the DNR, public comment usually is taken at the monthly meetings of the Natural Resources Commission.

The DNR currently manages game populations by establishing harvest quotas and species management zones, increasing or decreasing the number and types of hunting licenses issued, adjusting the duration of the hunting seasons, and using the enforcement and penalty provisions of the NREPA.

Impact of Proposal G

Prior to Executive Order 1991-31 of 1991, the Natural Resources Commission had the authority to establish policies concerning the taking of game. The executive order abolished the existing DNR and a number of agencies, commissions, and boards; created a new DNR; and vested in the director of the new DNR all of the authority of the abolished entities and the Natural Resources Commission.

Passage of Proposal G would give the Natural Resources Commission the exclusive authority under the NREPA to establish policies for the taking of game.

Passage of Proposals D and G

Proposal D is on the ballot as a result of petition signatures collected by a Michigan citizen organization. If a majority of the electors cast "yes" votes on Proposal D, it will be enacted into law. If the law is enacted, it cannot be repealed or amended by the Legislature except with a three-fourths vote.

Proposal G is on the ballot as a result of Public Act 377 of 1996 (Senate Bill 1033), which provides that Public Act 377 cannot take effect unless it is approved by a majority of the electors. If a majority of the electors cast "yes" votes on Proposal G, it will amend the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. It could be amended at any time by a majority vote of the Legislature.

In the event that both Proposal D and Proposal G are approved, the proposal with the higher number of votes will take precedence if there is a conflict between the language of the proposals.

See also