Michigan officials pave way for legislature to remove Gov. Whitmer’s emergency powers

The Michigan Legislature has the opportunity to repeal the law used by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic without the threat of a veto.

The opportunity came after the Michigan Board of State Canvassers unanimously certified Unlock Michigan campaign’s petition Tuesday that would repeal the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, Booth Newspapers reported.

“We’re looking forward to the next and final step on this long road: passage by the Michigan House and Senate of our initiative to repeal this law so abused by Governor Whitmer,” said Fred Wzsolek, a spokesperson for Unlock Michigan.

The petition had gathered more than the 340,047 signatures that were necessary to force action by the Michigan Legislature or a statewide vote on the law.

Some Democrats expressed concern about the validity of some of the signatures, but Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson ruled that they were valid, according to Booth Newspapers.

Wzsolek said he expects the petition to move through the Republican-led Legislature quickly.

“Seeing as opponents have finally run out of absurd challenges, we will take it up as soon as Secretary Benson sends it,” Senate GOP spokesperson Abby Walls said.

The Legislature is on summer break, but there is one voting session  scheduled this week, during which the petition could be approved.

Keep Michigan Safe, a liberal group that disagrees with Unlock Michigan, called on lawmakers to oppose the petition.

“We urge lawmakers in both parties to reject Unlock Michigan’s illegal tactics and corrupt conduct, which completely undermines the integrity of our elections,” spokesperson Mark Fisk said.

“Unlock Michigan’s brazen partisan power grab will further reduce our state’s ability to save lives during public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic and handcuff future generations of leaders from acting decisively in times of crises.”

Whitmer used the Emergency Powers of Governor Act to declare and extend a state of emergency during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave her broad executive powers.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Oct. 2 that Whitmer’s use of the law to justify her actions was not applicable to support the unilateral extensions of her original emergency declarations.

Attorney Katherine Henry, who has fought the executive orders in court for six months, explained the ramifications of the probable repeal.

“That means burn your masks right now if you didn’t already. Open your gym and movie theater and open whatever business you have,” Henry told WJBK-TV.

“Go on and frequent whatever business you would like to go to. If you have a church that’s limited your services … forget that. All of those executive orders, based on COVID-19 circumstances, from 2020, they’re out, they’re gone, they’re done.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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