Lawmakers didn't discuss wolves' status as a protected species during the 2015 Legislature — not until the very end.
Two hours before the final gavel dropped, Spanish Fork Republican Rep. Mike McKell rose to defend giving activists $500,000 to pressure federal officials to return wolf management to the states.
McKell's proposed line item had not been discussed publicly during the normal state budgeting process, even though it has been the source of past controversy.
"This is a big deal, a big deal for ranchers. It's a big deal for wildlife in this state," McKell proclaimed on the House floor after another lawmaker suggested spending the money on air quality research instead.