Legislation to lift restrictions on bear petting zoos in Michigan is a step closer to becoming law.
The state Senate passed the measure Thursday.
The bill would let the public handle bear cubs up to 36 weeks old or less than 90 pounds. It would also let them take pictures with the animals.
The goal is to let an Upper Peninsula bear ranch continue to offer that experience.
Democratic Senator Rebekah Warren voted against the bill. She says lawmakers have better things to do.
“If the point is that we need to change a statute so that humans can frolic with wild animals to keep people employed, I don’t think that’s the right direction,” she says.
Supporters say the ranch is a financial asset to its community, and the bears pose no threat to visitors.
Governor Rick Snyder recently vetoed similar legislation that included controversial changes to zoo regulations. Sponsors of the new bill have dropped that language.
It now goes to the state House.