LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The only two Republican members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Rural Development and Natural Resources are pushing back against the proposed Department of Natural Resources budget.

State Rep. Ken Borton (R-Gaylord) and Rep. Greg Alexander (R-Carsonville) offered a series of amendments that were ultimately turned down by the other members of the committee, which is a majority Democrat.

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“Even when Democrats refuse to listen, we have a responsibility to ensure our rural communities have their voices heard during the budget process,” said Borton. “We weren’t asking for anything radical, just a few dam amendments and protections for little old ladies feeding the birds.”

The pair offered amendments that included: “$1 million for dam repairs on state-owned lands; $600,000 for Sportsmen Against Hunger, a nonprofit that processes and donates venison to local food banks; $1.5 million to rebuild Cornwall Flooding dam in Cheboygan County; $2.5 million for the Manistee and AuSable Rivers Fish Habitat restoration; and $100,000 for Monitor Township Park.”

While each of the amendments were rejected by the committee, the representatives also were seeking to get rid of more than $5.5 million in government spending.

“It was very disappointing to see Democrats universally reject our proposals,” Borton said. “When there are only two Republicans allowed on important budgeting committees, we do our best to represent rural communities across Michigan. Our amendments were thoughtfully crafted to best represent the needs of people and wildlife throughout our state.”

Representatives Seek Language Alteration in the Budget.

The representatives also proposed changes to language including “encouraging United States Department of Agriculture deer harvests in bovine tuberculosis areas; timber marking reporting; snowmobile law enforcement grants for county sheriffs; marine safety grants for county sheriffs; deer harvest check stations for Chronic Wasting Disease; and increased protections for residents using backyard birdfeeders,” according to the representatives.

Rep. Cam Cavitt Also Opposed the Committee’s Decision to Reject Rep. Alexander’s Amendment.

Rep. Cavitt (R-Cheboygan) expressed his disappointment in the committee to reject a budget amendment to provide $600,000 for Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger (MSAH), an organization that coordinates with hunters to use licensed wild game processors to feed those who are hungry in the state.

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“House Democrats just spit in the face of an organization just trying to reduce waste and feed the hungry,” said Cavitt, R-Cheboygan. “Committee Democrats found $4 million for a fourth-grade field trip program but couldn’t find 15 percent of that for a non-profit donating venison to foodbanks across Michigan.”

According to Rep. Cavitt, the organization has donated more than 1 million pounds of processed venison and helped feed an estimated 4.6 million people.

The group is seeking the funds to help cover the costs of increased testing guidelines from the DNR for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis, as well as added costs for refrigerators to store the processed meat, and higher costs to maintain processors.

MSAH is a volunteer 501c3 organization founded in 1991.