Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
Why it Matters: Several recently introduced pieces of legislation could have positive effects on Michigan’s sporting communities. HB 5358-5360 would ensure that guides hired in the Great Lakes State are licensed, responsible, and trained to handle an emergency. HB 5187 & 5188 would protect the firearms industry and citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights during times of emergency like we saw in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The last bill, HB 5393, would modernize Michigan’s gaming laws to reflect new technology, allowing non-profit conservation organizations to fundraise online. Many of these organizations were not able to raise funds during the pandemic, which threatened their ability to operate in support of the state’s public trust fish and wildlife resources.
Several important pieces of legislation have recently been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives. Two of the bill packages will be heard before committee on Oct. 28, while the third bill has not yet been scheduled for a committee hearing. Summaries for each of these bill packages are included below.
Michigan House Bills 5358, 5359 & 5360: This bill package seeks to create a registration program for guides and establish a set of minimum standards that guides must meet in order to take someone hunting or fishing for a fee. Guides would be required to pay a $150.00 fee (to the DNR) and possess a valid base hunting or fishing license, CPR and first aid training certificate, and a valid state identification. Additionally, all guides must not have been convicted of any felony or certain fish and game violations in the past three years. Finally, these bills would not allow guides to operate on commercial forest land and would require a harvest report to be filed each year with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Michigan House Bills 5187 & 5188: In response to many of the emergency orders we saw across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this bill package would amend the “Emergency Management Act” and “Public Health Code” to disallow future emergency orders to “prohibit, suspend, or limit” the firearm industry and Second Amendment rights of Michigan residents. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and partners have supported similar bills as a step to safeguard our 2nd Amendment rights during emergencies.
Michigan House Bill 5393: This bipartisan bill modernizes the state’s gaming laws by allowing charities to host online raffles. Many charities across the nation were hit hard in the wake of COVID-19. This is especially true for many conservation organizations that rely on in-person banquets to fundraise. Recognizing this, HB 5393 will allow hunting and fishing conservation non-profit organizations to host fundraisers online and help to make up the budget shortfalls they face when they are not able to host in-person fundraisers.
CSF plans to support the above legislation and will work to keep you updated on their progress as they move through the legislative process.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?