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Republicans vow to cut Gov. Whitmer’s emergency powers

by: DAVID EGGERT and ED WHITE Associated Press, Rick Albin

Posted: Apr 23, 2020 / 02:56 PM EDT / Updated: Apr 23, 2020 / 03:15 PM EDT

In a pool photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The governor made clear that she will extend her stay-at-home order beyond April 30 and that some form of it will be in effect for a “long time” in Michigan, hinting that people age 65 and older and those with chronic lung problems may face restrictions longer than others. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)

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.

A House spokesperson says it will follow the same model as the investigation of the Snyder Administration’s handling of the Flint Water crisis.

The Senate will also vote on the measure after it comes over from the House. But there are other bills that deal with limiting the Governor’s powers during an emergency declaration, and the upper chamber will likely deal with some of those too.

Those bills, and holding session in general, are not to the liking of Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich.

“It’s politics, unfortunately. People think she’s handling this crisis very well, and they do not feel the same about the President. I think it coming down from high that they have to try to take her numbers down. Republicans put out a plan just last week about handling the economy and this violates that very plan by having a bunch of people in a room together with no social distancing, very little health protocols. So then we’re going to leave there and go back to all across the state for the purposes of taking a couple political votes. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is,” the Flint Democrat said.

In the House, the resolution to create that committee will be done on a voice vote. Members will check in then leave the chamber, leaving only a handful of members to vote to represent a quorum.

The Senate will presumably have a majority of members in the chamber at the same time to take roll call votes.

The two bills to be considered, other than the resolution deal with repealing the 1945 law, about emergency powers leaving the newer legislation from 1976 to govern emergency orders. The second would limit the time a Governor can declare an emergency to 14 instead of 28 days unless extended by the legislature.

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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