Michigan Legislature Is About to Limit Gretchen Whitmer's Power as Governor

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Michigan might soon have some checks and balances restored to its legislature over a year after the current governor of the state overstepped her authority. The really awesome part of this is that the law she abused will be taken off the books for good without a veto threat and no governor in the future will be able to use it. That is a good thing, no matter if it is a Democrat or a Republican in the governor’s mansion, and will prevent the people of Michigan from getting abused.

Back in March of 2020, the 49th governor of Michigan, in reaction to COVID-19 being blared as the greatest threat since the last greatest threat we faced, used a rare law to basically shut the state down. The Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 gives the Guv. superpowers to protect the citizens from things we would normally do on an everyday basis. Here is the wording of the 1945 act…

Section 1 of article 5 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963 vests the executive power of the State of Michigan in the governor.

The Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, 1945 PA 302, as amended, MCL 10.31 et seq., provides that “[d]uring times of great public crisis, disaster, rioting, catastrophe, or similar public emergency within the state . . . the governor may proclaim a state of emergency and designate the area involved.” MCL 10.31(1). The state of emergency ceases “upon declaration by the governor that the emergency no longer exists.” MCL 10.31(2).

These powers can be extended but ONLY if the governor gets the legislature’s approval after 28 days. Whitmer, at the end of April of 2020, decided she didn’t need the legislature’s approval anymore and just ended the previous emergency declaration and then signed a new one good for the next 28 days.

She is a crafty one, isn’t she?!

The Whitmer administration was sued for this, and in October of last year, the Michigan State Supreme Court told her she was in violation of the law and to knock it off. She found another way to act like the Fidel Castro of the Great Lake State but the voters of Michigan decided to make sure she is never tempted to use this law ever again.

Here is what they did…

From the Detroit Free Press

A law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used extensively to address the coronavirus pandemic could be repealed as early as next week, after the Board of State Canvassers certified a petition drive Tuesday.

The board voted 3-0, with one of two Democratic board members absent, to certify the Unlock Michigan petition to repeal the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945.

Earlier, the board deadlocked 2-2, along partisan lines, on whether to certify the legislative initiative. But Unlock Michigan appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court and the court ordered the board to certify, saying the group had clearly collected more than the just over 340,000 valid signatures required by state law.

The group Unlock Michigan collected over 300,000 signatures to demand the Michigan State legislature REPEAL the 1945 law that Whitmer had originally used. Under another Michigan law, citizens can draft language on a petition to send to both chambers of the Michigan Legislature. If both chambers approve it with a simple vote the law is passed and does not need the governor’s signature. The legislature can also punt and allow the issue to go before the voters on the next statewide election. With the Michigan House and Senate still in GOP hands, this should happen by the end of the month and Governor Whitmer will no longer be able to scratch her authoritarian urges with this law.

I should note that Unlock Michigan not only drafted the language for this and collected the signatures for it, but they also had to fight with the Secretary of State to get the signature approved and, as noted in the story above, the Board of Canvassers for final approval. Along the way, this issue landed before the Michigan Supreme Court, which told the B.O.C. to stop screwing around and approve this petition.

Now that this law (soon) will no longer be able to be abused by ANY governor of this state, Unlock Michigan has its sights set on the power Whitmer used by having the Michigan Health and Human Services do her dirty work of enforcing draconian COVID-19 restrictions. They will face the same obstacles as they did before but now with this experience under their belts, hopefully, this petition goes a bit smoother.

The people of Michigan deserve another win after what this administration has done for the past 16 months.