ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - State Senator Ed McBroom of Michigan’s 38th Senate District understands hunting is a critical part of U.P. residents' lives, which is why he's fighting to make sure hunters' voices are heard.
"That's especially important,” he explained.
On Wednesday, McBroom introduced and sponsored Senate Bills 366 and 367 via webcam from Lansing.
These bills would reduce the price on fishing and hunting licenses to qualified residents who either own land in Michigan, previously lived in the state and had a Michigan resident hunting license, or completed hunter safety training in Michigan.
McBroom and many others favor these proposals because it will encourage greater hunter participation.
"To have better access to spending time with their families and coming back to Michigan and participating in our hunting culture and heritage,” said State Senator McBroom.
But several state senators thought otherwise, believing it will negatively affect funding and increase hunting competition in the Lower Peninsula.
Yet, McBroom and other Escanaba residents reassured this won't be a problem.
"I know there are those in the department who oppose this legislation because they perceive a loss in revenue, but I see just the opposite,” said G. Dale McNamee, an Escanaba resident. “As young people return who have been forced to leave the state to follow careers will continue to return."
Also discussed at Wednesday's committee hearing was a proposal to allow children to purchase a youth antlerless deer license for use during youth hunt weekend.
Those who testified against the bill believe the Natural Resources Commission should control regulation of game species.
While others felt it would be a great way to introduce young people to outdoor life.
"I think this will be another great tool for managing our deer herd too and taking out some of the doe, and then also giving them an opportunity to take a buck later,” said Ken Buckholtz, an Escanaba resident.
The state senators did not reach a decision regarding either senate resolution.
But McBroom encourages more people to attend these hearings and express their concerns.