LANSING — State Representative John Kivela  (D-Marquette) testified in the House Natural Resources Committee today on his bill,  House Bill 5146, to increase the penalties for illegally bringing a deer carcass into Michigan from another state that is known to have deer with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Joining Kivela to give testimony was his guest, Michigan United Conservation Club Vice President George Lindquist.

“I thank Committee Chairwoman Andrea LaFontaine for this hearing on my bill on this critical issue that could affect our deer herd,” said Kivela, who is the Democratic vice chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. “It’s important that we take steps now to prevent Chronic Wasting Disease from infecting U.P. deer.”

“I want to thank Rep. Kivela for introducing this important piece of legislation,” said Lindquist, who is also a member of the U.P. Whitetails of Marquette County. “It is essential that we do everything possible to slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan’s deer herd.”

Kivela’s bill would increase the penalties for illegally bringing a deer carcass into the state from another stated with the known presence of CWD to a fine of between $500 and $2,000, and/or a sentence of up to 90 days in jail.

Even without the presence of this disease, the U.P. saw a decline in the harvest for the most recent firearm deer hunting season, according to the most recent data from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Michigan’s four confirmed cases of CWD have all occurred in Mid-Michigan around the state Capitol region.

“Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts need to know that we are serious about protecting our deer,” said Kivela. “Hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation are integral to Michigan’s economy, so we have to do all that we can to contain and stop Chronic Wasting Disease.”