LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The GOP-controlled legislature has moved forward in eliminating some of the emergency powers of the governor. Republicans are accusing Whitmer of ignoring the voice of the citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic while Democrats say that the governor used emergency mandate powers to save lives.
Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled a 1945 law unconstitutional; the law in question giving the governor the unilateral right to impose emergency mandates on the state without input from the legislature.
Republicans were not satisfied with a court ruling, launching a petition drive to overturn the law, ensuring Governor Whitmer or any other governor to allegedly silence the voice of the citizens and to make sure the legislature and governor are equals.
Michigan Representative Jack O’Malley states,
“One branch stonewalling a co-equal branch. Now I understand this was a fast moving situation but the day the legislative branch was ignored and the governor chose to act unilaterally was the day she misinterpreted the 1945 Riot Act. I will not be voting yes. I will be voting hell yes.”
Whitmer and others argued that in the effort to save lives during the pandemic, the last thing you wanted to do is wait around for the legislature to act when immediate action is required by the governor.
Representative Julie Rogers has vocalized her support for Whitmer,
“I really value directives that are intended to protect public health and Michiganders. That was the governor’s intent with her decisive action last year. This is not a rogue governor following her own rules.”
Democrats contend that if this was all about protecting the democracy, then the issue should have gone to the voters next November.
“I heard earlier this was about democracy, but only 460,000 persons signed these petition… That’s a large number but there are 10 million people in Michigan. They will not have their voice heard if this passes today”, said Rep. Mari Manoogian.
Republicans will use the alleged abuse of power against Whitmer in the election next year.
Rep. Andrew Beeler ha stated that this is not an attack on Whitmer
“This is not a partisan attack by a GOP legislature on a Democratic governor. This is the legislature asserting its constitutional duty to create the laws in our state.”
Despite this loss, the Governor still has the power through the public health department to impose new COVID-19 restraints if necessary, but a new GOP petition drive is expected, seeking to end those powers.