Michigan court again rules in favor of emergency law critics

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FILE – This Tuesday, April 26, 2016 file photo shows The Associated Press logo in New York. The Associated Press has pulled out of its planned coverage of Wednesday’s CMA Awards show due to a dispute over photographs of the broadcast. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday reaffirmed an earlier decision that could lead to the repeal of a law that was used by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to order restrictions last year related to the coronavirus.

The court directed the Board of State Canvassers to certify a ballot question that will likely kill the 1945 emergency powers law, which has already been declared unconstitutional.

A group called Unlock Michigan met the 340,000-signature threshold, officials said, but the board deadlocked along partisan lines and refused to certify the issue in April.

“The board has a clear legal duty to certify the petition,” the Supreme Court said.

When the petition is certified, the Republican-controlled Legislature will likely enact the measure and end the law rather than let it go to a public vote in 2022. Whitmer, a Democrat, is powerless to stop lawmakers if they take that step.

After the Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional in October, Whitmer used a public health law to carry out many of the same policies to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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