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State Rep. Julie Alexander and Tom Knutson testify before the House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation on June 9, 2020, on the Michigan bait industry.

House approves Rep. Alexander plan to support Michigan bait industry
RELEASE|May 27, 2021

The Michigan House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a plan by state Rep. Julie Alexander to allow the exportation of Michigan live bait.

“State law currently puts unnecessary limits on Michigan businesses that catch or sell live bait,” said Alexander, of Hanover. “This plan will give Michigan businesses access to other markets with an appropriate permitting process to conserve our natural resources.”

Minnows, wigglers and crayfish are all typically used as fish bait. Current law allows a person to acquire a permit to export these creatures out of the state, but only if they were caught outside of Michigan. Alexander’s House Bill 4242 would allow a person to export minnows, wigglers and crayfish caught in waters under Michigan’s jurisdiction.

At a House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation hearing recently, Alexander was joined by Tom Knutson, a Jackson County resident who sells live bait and outdoor sporting products, as well as live bait, at his business. Knutson shared how the plan would help the bait industry, noting that some Michigan minnow catchers have not been able to sell all their supply to Michigan customers in recent years.

“I am pleased to work on this legislation in cooperation with Tom Knutson and this important Michigan industry,” Alexander said. “The best ideas to improve our state come from the people who know the effects our laws have on their lives and businesses; I am grateful to Tom and others in our Jackson community who bring issues like this to my attention.”

Alexander’s bill will also ensure that Michigan law complies with a 1979 Supreme Court decision that struck down an Oklahoma law that prohibited exportation of minnows from that state.

HB 4242 passed with bipartisan support and now advances to the Senate for consideration.

Tom Knutson testifies before the House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation on April 29, 2021, in support of state Rep. Julie Alexander’s House Bill 4242 to allow the export of Michigan-caught live bait.
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