While voters were going to the polls to decide millage and bond questions Tuesday, Michigan's Board of State Canvassers decided two issues that will affect what will be on the November ballot.
The board certified a second ballot initiative to stop the wolf hunt in the Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This will join an existing measure that will appear before voters in November.
The commissioners also approved the language for a petition to get a new party, the Independent Non-Affiliation Party of Michigan, on the ballot this November.
Wolf Hunting Ban Proposal
The group behind both proposals, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, submitted 182,732 petitions with valid signatures. This exceeded by more than 20,000 the 161,305 needed to get the proposal on the ballot.This proposal seeks to repeal Public Act 21 of 2013, which authorizes the Natural Resources Commission to add certain animals, including wolves, to the list of game species. A yes vote would approve the law, while a no vote would be one in favor of its repeal.
The state legislature passed Public Act 21 in response to the first proposal by Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, which sought to repeal Public Act 520 of 2012, authorizing the establishment of the first open hunting season for wolves.
There may be a third wolf hunting proposal on the November ballot. Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, a pro-hunting group, is circulating petitions to get their own measure before voters that would continue the wolf hunt as well as provide for control of aquatic invasive species such as Asian Carp. The Detroit Free Press reports that this proposal needs at least 258,088 valid signatures submitted by May 28 for approval. MLive notes that the pro-hunting measure includes an appropriation, which would make it immune from referendums to repeal it.
If all three proposals appear on the ballot, then the one that receives the most votes takes effect. It is also possible that the state legislature could approve the pro-hunting measure within 40 days of the Board of State Canvassers certifying the petition signatures. Such an action would keep the proposal off the ballot. This is what happened with the proposal to require a separate rider for coverage of abortions, which became Public Act 182 of 2013, the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act.
Independent Non-Affiliation Party of Michigan
The board also approved the language of a petition submitted by DaNetta Simpson to create a new party, the Independent Non-Affiliation Party of Michigan.
MLive reports that Simpson has until July 17 to collect 32,261 signatures from registered voters to get the party on the ballot this November, including at least 100 signatures each from seven of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts.
If successful, the Independent Non-Affiliation Party would join the Libertarians, Greens, U.S. Taxpayers Party, and Natural Law Party as minor parties with ballot access in Michigan.