Last night, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave her fifth state of the state address; her first since Democrats took the majority in both the State House of Representatives and the Senate and she won reelection.
In her speech, Gov. Whitmer laid out her legislative plan for 2023, including universal pre-k, tax breaks and other social agenda items. Unfortunately for hunters and anglers, wildlife and fisheries issues were not priorities for the speech.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) staff attended the pre-speech legislative leader receptions and shared our members’ legislative priorities for this session with legislators, staff and other stakeholder groups.
The governor announced a desire to continue investment in renewable energy. Throughout the last four years, MUCC has, and will continue to, work to ensure that renewable energy projects do not come at the cost of wildlife, fisheries, public access or habitat.
During the speech, Gov. Whitmer briefly mentioned her MI Healthy Climate Plan, and said that these priorities would be reflected in her coming executive budget.
The Governor also laid out her plan to pursue new gun control laws in Michigan. Her request to the legislature includes:
- “Extreme Risk Protection Orders,” a different term for red flag laws. Some versions of these laws enacted in other states would allow an individuals’ firearms to be confiscated without a chance at due process. MUCC wrote a blog on a proposed red flag legislation last year.
- Universal background checks. Currently in Michigan, private buyers and sellers of long guns do not need to perform a background check to complete the sale. Until the text of this legislation is released, we do not know if this may include family and friends.
- Safe storage laws. Without legislative language, we cannot assume the details. However, these bills would likely require an individual to keep firearms in their home in some sort of locking device, particularly to prevent child access. It may also include specific liability for legal gun owners who do not take action to prevent unauthorized access.
MUCC’s policy on firearms and the second amendment is clear. Since the early 1960s, our members have passed numerous policy resolutions opposing any new gun control. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is written into the MUCC articles of incorporation.
While we will oppose this legislation, it does not mean we will not try and neutralize the impact on hunting and recreational shooting as much as possible. With all of our collective efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters, it is important that we not create new barriers to entry for law-abiding citizens.
We remain committed to working with any legislator to make sure that the language in these bills do not interfere with the ability to hunt, shoot or prevent the ability of a child to hunt or shoot with a mentor.
To ensure our natural resources remain protected and managed thoughtfully and our outdoor heritage defended, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today: http://bit.ly/JoinMUCC.