Governor Snyder signs SB 869 into law, existing bass season Fisheries Order still in effect

The bass season bill Senate Bill 869 was signed by Governor Rick Snyder at 11:06 AM on Tuesday 6/3/2014. SB 869 was filed with the Michigan Secretary of State the same day and assigned Public Act 145 of 2014 with immediate effect. This removes the previous earliest bass season starting dates from Michigan state law.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Fisheries Order containing the existing bass season starts dates is still in effect, but the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has full authority to create a new, longer bass season for 2015 pending the outcome of the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA) petition drive by CPWM.

After SB 869 was passed without amendment by the full House 108-1 on May 15th the House added immediate effect to the bill as the Senate already had, sending the bill back to the Senate to be enrolled. SB 869 was presented to Governor Snyder on May 28th.

It can’t be understated how this demonstrates that our elected leaders recognize that bass fishing is an important part of our great Natural Resources economy, and important to a large number of Michigan citizens. This has been pointed out numerous times by statements from Senators, Representatives and the Governor.

Many persons worked together well to help this necessary work get introduced and move smoothly through our state government. In particular, a big thanks to Senator Geoff Hansen for introducing the bill during an already busy schedule, and thanks to the many co-sponsors Senators Rick Jones, Thomas Casperson, Darwin Booher, James Marleau, Mark Jansen and Judith Emmons.

SB 869 was so successful, getting only 1 no vote in both chambers combined, thanks to the positive and effective support from Matt Evans and MUCC, and especially the full support from the MDNR by Trevor VanDyke and Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. House Natural Resources Committee chair Andrea LaFontaine played an important role in bringing SB 869 quickly before the committee and working with leadership to get the bill onto the floor and through the full House.

A big thanks to the bass anglers who helped, made calls, sent email or wrote letters! One person in particular made significant efforts with key legislators and the Governor demonstrating the power of personal connections and being known as a trusted resource before these types of issues come to our elected officials. A special thanks to this person though he chooses to remain anonymous!

Now, we are shortly expecting 4 options from the MDNR Fisheries Division to go to public meetings in July, an online survey and possibly a mailed survey. We also need to be sure the SFWCA is presented to and voted on by the Senate and House on August 13 when they come back into session. This will give the authority to write Fisheries Orders back to the NRC where it needs to be so we can manage our fish and game using sound science.

If you have questions or wish to discuss this important step in the process you can visit the SB 869 signed into law by Governor Snyder forum thread.

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