Governor Gretchen Whitmer has rebuked the Republican-controlled Michigan House of Representatives — which declined to extend the governor’s emergency measures and instead voted to sue her for unauthorized use of power — with three executive orders that will extend the state’s emergency declaration until May 28.
When combined together, the three executive orders extend Whitmer’s emergency authority, which the governor will use to extend the state’s stay-at-home policy until March 15, according to Politico.
The governor asserted in a statement that the executive orders come from “independent sources of statutory authority.” Whitmer also refers to the coronavirus as “an enemy that has taken the lives of more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam War,” and later accuses Republican lawmakers of “putting their heads in the sand and putting more lives and livelihoods at risk.”
“We’re all in this together,” said Whitmer. “Defeating COVID-19 is an all hands on deck moment for our state, and I remain hopeful that Republicans in the legislature will stop the partisan games and start working with me to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-MI) told the Detroit Free Press that the legislature was willing to work with Whitmer on some of the measures she wanted, excluding a statewide stay-at-home order, but that the governor declined to do so.
“We’re all in this together and we should all work together. We believe upholding the democratic process is best,” tweeted the speaker, who writes that “she just said no.”
Today, we offered our hand of partnership to the governor. No politics. We’re all in this together and we should all work together. We believe upholding the democratic process is best for MI people. She just said no. Very disappointing. #InThisTogether https://t.co/thExZnZSsg
— Lee Chatfield (@LeeChatfield) May 1, 2020
According to ABC-12, Chatfield said that one of the bills was designed to enact many of the governor’s current orders, and includes public health measures such as a ban on large gatherings.
Politico reports that the Senate and House passed a bill that would “temporarily codify” the governor’s orders, but begin to ease them after two weeks, at which point places such as gyms and the dine-in portions of restaurants could reopen. Under the bill, social distancing measures would continue until May 30, reports the news agency.
“The idea we want to put an abrupt end to the state of emergency and go back to normal immediately is a lazy political talking point,” said Chatfield, reports ABC-12.
“We all agree Michigan must continue taking strong steps to fight the spread of this disease. But we can both protect the public health and protect the individual people who make up our great state,” he said.
Democratic lawmakers maintain that the governor needs to retain emergency powers in order to respond to situations as they arise, reports Politico.
“We must ensure that our state can respond quickly and decisively to a situation that changes day by day,” said Representative Tyrone Carter (D-MI), reports the news agency. “That means ensuring that our governor has the emergency powers necessary to lead us in this fight.”
According to The Hill, 41,000 people in Michigan have been diagnosed with coronavirus and 3,789 people have died.
As The Daily Wire reported, Whitmer’s previous orders have triggered protests at the state capitol, including a protest on Thursday ahead of the old emergency order expiring. A viral photo captured by a Democratic lawmaker shows that some of the demonstrators inside of the capitol were armed.
Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs
— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
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