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      Senate passes bill that could change the game species process

      The Michigan Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would allow the Natural Resources Commission to add animals to Michigan's game species list without requiring legislative approval.

      The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 25 to 11 on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

      The Associated Press also reports that the bill does not include the one million dollar appropriation that would have prevented it from being added to a ballot under Michigan law.

      Opponents of Senate Bill 288 say that this will leave voters without a say in the game species process and put wildlife in danger. One group attempting to keep a wolf hunt in Michigan from happening recently gathered 240,000 signatures on a petition that could push a possible wolf hunt to the 2014 ballot.

      "So hungry to kill wolves, Michigan politicians are diluting their own authority to pass game species policy by granting this power to a handful of political appointees who are accountable to no one," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

      The bill's sponsor, Senator Tom Casperson, says that the bill will allow species to be more easily managed scientifically if the NRC is given this regulation power.

      "Management of wildlife is an issue that constituents routinely raise as one of the great concerns for economic, recreational and social reasons," said Senator Casperson. "In 1996, the voters wisely decided that they wanted the NRC to regulate the taking of game based on science. And, from what I continue to hear, especially lately, the belief that we need to manage game scientifically is even more strongly held today."

      Senator Casperson expects the bill to potentially be taken up by the House of Representatives next week.