Legislator: New body would have better pulse on the region
State Rep. Greg Markkanen is spearheading new plans creating a Natural Resources Commission for the Upper Peninsula – as the current state commission continues to actively hinder the needs and challenges involving the region’s resources and recreation.
House Bills 6383-87 establish the separate panel’s authority and lay out rules for its operation. Other U.P. legislators have joined Markkanen in sponsoring proposals.
“Matters involving U.P. hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation regulations and other important natural resource issues should be led by U.P. voices and U.P. residents,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “We have seen a consistent pattern of decisions by the existing commission which don’t take U.P. voices or concerns into account. Many people in the U.P. feel this commission has failed them and is actively working against their interests. A more personalized panel will eliminate that element and deliver oversight that better reflects our residents while meeting their needs.”
The commission’s recent deer harvest reporting mandate is another example in a long list of instances where it has been out of touch with U.P. residents. The new order requires hunters to file online reports within 72 hours after taking a deer – including exact location, type of hunting device used, and other personal information. Failure to do so would constitute a misdemeanor offense.
Markkanen is supporting advancing legislation which states the Natural Resources Commission cannot require hunters to make such reports as bow season is set to begin Oct. 1. The second-term legislator said the order is impractical and overly burdensome – as many hunting areas do not have reliable internet access and enacting criminal penalties goes too far to encourage data collection. The plan, House Bill 6354, was approved in a vote by the Michigan House on Wednesday.
HBs 6383-87 have been referred to the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee for consideration.
“Democrats clamoring about process means nothing when they won’t engage with us legislatively,” said Markkanen, who serves on the House Education Committee. “I know there are former educators across the aisle. I’m sure they dealt with the same classroom distractions that I did. It appears they forgot about the remedies for those problems. If they truly recognize the need for school safety resources, I’d give them some of the same advice I gave some of my more distracted students – it’s time to turn off the phone, sit down at your desk, and get to work. We need a committee hearing so we can get these bills done.”
“There are so many Yoopers with Finnish heritage, making celebrating Finnish history all the more important in the Upper Peninsula,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Saunas are essential to Finnish culture. Finns of all generations enjoy traditional saunas for cleansing and as a vital source of relaxation and socializing.”
“Pvt. Karna served his country bravely in its time of greatest need,” Markkanen said. “As a fellow veteran, I’m honored to introduce a bill to memorialize his service and sacrifice in the Painsedale and South Range communities.”
“The governor’s new Good Jobs 2.0 proposal has a lot in common with Hollywood’s recent obsession with remaking classic movies; the only difference being, unlike many of the movies, the original Good Jobs program was terrible too,” said Markkanen, R-Hancock. “Michigan doesn’t need to lure coastal corporations into our state so we can have more big fancy ribbon cutting events. We need a real economic development strategy to support our struggling small businesses across Michigan.”