State Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Maintain, today announced a plan to decriminalize and repeal dozens of non-violent offenses outdoor enthusiasts might unknowingly commit.
LaFave said his legislation will help ensure the punishment fits the crime when it comes to offenses laid out in Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.
“Failing to put your name and address on your ice fishing tip-up shouldn’t land you 90 days in jail – but it could, under current law,” LaFave said. “The same punishment could currently apply if you allowed someone with a learning disability to drive a four-wheeler or tied your boat up to a neighbor’s pier.
“While some of these actions are not advisable, I think we can all agree that you shouldn’t be thrown in jail for forgetting to wear your ‘hunter orange’ hat.”
LaFave’s plan, laid out in House Bill 6362, would eliminate scores of non-violent misdemeanor offenses and reduce others to civil infractions punishable by fines, but not jail time.
“Even a minor misdemeanor conviction can have serious consequences on Upper Peninsula residents,” LaFave said. “People have to shell out money for court costs and lawyers. Worse yet, it becomes harder for them to find jobs to help support their families.
“While I am a fervent supporter of justice, we must draw a line at lunacy. It’s time to take a serious look at the consequences of overregulating the enjoyment of our great outdoors.”
The legislation was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.