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Governor vetoes bill on deer-baiting

deer season
Posted at 12:37 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 12:37:15-05

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Whitmer vetoed a couple of house bills on Thursday that sent a message about the agricultural industry, wildlife, and an equal opportunity for all counties, according to a press release.

The bills that were vetoed were House Bill (HB) 4687 and 4120.

HB4687 would have lifted a state ban on using bait to hunt deer.

Baiting deer and elk is prohibited throughout the entire Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula under a ban that was initially approved by the state Natural Resources Commission in 2018.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says baiting and feeding that concentrates animals beyond their normal movement patterns increases the likelihood of disease transmission.

Republicans disagree and say the ban is driving hunters away, hurting efforts to control deer overpopulation.

Whitmer sad the baiting ban should stay intact to continue curbing diseases.

“I remain fully committed to protecting Michigan’s wildlife, public health, and agriculture jobs,” said Whitmer. “This legislation would’ve increased the chance of spreading wildlife disease within wildlife populations and the beef and dairy industries, which are vital to Michigan’s economy. That’s not a risk we can afford to take. By vetoing this legislation, the authority to ban baiting and feeding will remain with the experts at the Natural Resources Commission, in accordance with the will of the overwhelming number of Michiganders who supported proposal G. Leaving the ban in place will allow the state to continue working to curb the spread of diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease.”

HB 4120 would amend the county road law to allow road commissions a 30-year installment contract, instead of the current 15-year maximum, however limiting this to counties with a population of 100,000 or less, which unfairly discriminates against larger counties, according to the governor.

“I believe that all counties across Michigan deserve access to the same contracts for their road commissions,” said counties “That is why I am eager to work with the Legislature to pass a bill that includes all 83 of Michigan’s counties so we can continue to improve infrastructure all across the state.”

Included with this article are both of the governor's signing statements on these house bills.

HB 4687 HB 4687
HB 4120 HB 4120

"We thank Governor Whitmer for standing up for science and vetoing this legislation," said Sean Hammond, Michigan Environmental Council Policy Director. "Science has shown that anything short of a full ban on deer baiting will not help slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD is the largest threat facing our deer population, putting at risk Michigan's outdoor conservation economy. The spread of CWD also creates potential risks to public health, as more exposures increase the risk of spreading to humans as Mad Cow has in the past. We cannot afford to take those risks."

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