Republicans vow to cut Gov. Whitmer’s emergency powers

Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives a briefing on the state’s response to coronavirus on April 22, 2020, in Lansing.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republicans who control the Michigan Legislature said they will meet Friday to pass bills to rein in the emergency powers of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and create a committee to oversee the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, a dramatic strike against the Democrat amid the health crisis.

A spokeswoman for Whitmer promised a veto and said Republicans were “playing dangerous partisan games” while the governor is focused on saving lives and controlling the spread of the virus.

Republicans are unhappy with the breadth of Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, though polling shows the public believes she made the right calls. She is expected to extend it past April 30 but with modifications.

“Lives have unfortunately been lost in our state. Many people are suffering. Livelihoods have been destroyed, and many freedoms are gone. Frankly, we deserve better,” House Speaker Lee Chatfield said on social media.

The flap could explode into a legal fight because one state law gives the governor broad authority to unilaterally declare an emergency, while another one requires input from the Legislature. In issuing her stay-home orders, Whitmer has cited both laws.

The governor “will not sign a bill that would diminish her ability to protect citizens of this state from a deadly disease that has already killed thousands of people in Michigan,” Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said.

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