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Petitions submitted for minimum wage, wolf hunt

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It has been a busy seven days at Michigan's Board of State Canvassers.

Wednesday, Raise Michigan dropped off boxes of signatures for the ballot proposal to increase the state's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

The day before, the pro-hunting group Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management submitted their petitions to allow the wolf hunt to continue and appropriate money to control Asian Carp and other invasive aquatic species.

Finally, on Thursday of last week the Board of State Canvassers approved placing a measure to approve the legislature's repeal of the state's personal property tax on the August 5 ballot.

Raise Michigan

Wednesday afternoon, Raise Michigan delivered petitions bearing 319,784 signatures to the Secretary of State in Lansing. This would put the measure on the November ballot once the signature is certified.

The group did this despite the passage the day before of a bill repealing the minimum wage law that the ballot measure seeks to amend, replacing it with a new statute raising the minimum wage to $9.25 per hour by 2018 and then indexing it to inflation.

In a statement quoted by MLive, Raise Michigan member Danielle Atkinson said, "We know that public support is behind us and we're confident that people want to see this on the ballot in November."

A poll by EPIC-MRA published by the Detroit Free Press showed that Atkinson was correct. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed favored an increase of the minimum wage to $10.10, while only forty-nine percent supported an increase to $9.20, the level in the original State Senate bill before it passed both houses and was signed by Snyder.

If the referendum ends up on the ballot but results up having no effect, it would share the same fate as the first initiative to stop the wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula. That measure was approved to go on the November ballot, but was superseded by an act of the state legislature.

Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management

Tuesday, MLive reported that Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management submitted petitions bearing more than 374,000 signatures to the Secretary of State, much more than the 258,088 required to put it on the November ballot.

The measure would allow reaffirm the ability of the Natural Resources Commission to designate a game species, including the gray wolf, which is the current law.

It would also require the state to continue to offer free hunting and fishing licenses to active-duty members of the armed services and require an appropriation for one million dollars to fight Asian Carp and other aquatic invasive species.

The signature gatherers used this last item to induce people to sign the petition, highlighting combatting Asian Carp and not mentioning the wolf hunt unless pressed.

Two fates await the measure after the Board of State Canvassers certifies the measure. It could go on the ballot. In that case, whichever of the wolf hunt initiatives getting the most yes votes would take effect. It could also be acted upon by the state legislature within 40 days, in which case it would take effect, rendering votes on the two anti-hunting initiatives meaningless.

Personal Property Tax Repeal

The State Board of Canvassers voted last Thursday to place the repeal of the personal property tax before the voters. It will be Proposal 1 on the August 5 primary ballot.

The measure has already been passed by the legislature, but it requires a vote of the people to take effect.