Halfway There -- Michigan Senate Approves Bill Limiting Gretchen Whitmer Emergency Powers

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Michigan is on the move to sanity and it is due to the hard work of her citizens and not anything that was done in the name of safety over the past 16 months by the chief executive of the state. The first piece of returning power to the Legislature and the people has just passed the Michigan Senate and is headed to the Michigan House.

As I wrote here yesterday, The Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 was abused by Governor Whitmer and needed to be amended or repealed.

From yesterday’s article

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.

The folks over at Unlock Michigan decided to go the route of repeal and it was the right move in my ever-so-humble opinion. Now, according to news reports, the Michigan Senate has done the first step of removing this tool from this or any future Governors’s toolbox.

From Gongwer News Service

The final step to ensure the full repeal of the emergency powers is for the State House to approve it with a simple majority. The repeal is veto proof, and would go into effect regardless of the Governor’s opposition.

“Governor Whitmer spent over a year making unilateral decisions to put Michiganders under some of the strictest shutdowns and restrictions in the nation. It is no surprise that hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents supported this effort to take back control over their lives from an overzealous Governor,” said Eric Ventimiglia, executive director for Michigan Rising Action. Ventimiglia continued, “We applaud the Senate Republicans for their commitment to the people of our state with this vote, and we urge the House to move quickly to strip Whitmer of these excessive powers”

The vote in the GOP-controlled Senate went right along party lines with a 20-15 vote to approve and now heads to the Michigan House of Representatives for their approval. Once (if) the Michigan House members approve the repeal of The Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, it will be officially off the books.

Whitmer for the remainder of her term — and any Governor after her  — will be unable to use this law in the manner she did. The law required that the Governor was to gain the legislature’s approval after 28 days to continue any state of emergency. The Governor instead decided to cancel the previous order then issue a new one for another 28 days.

Unlock Michigan sought to gain enough signatures to put this proposal before the legislature and have them remove it without any input from Whitmer as Mr. Ventimiglia stated above. This is a clear example of what can be done when any politician oversteps their boundaries and the people get involved to put an elected official in check.

Thankfully, more actions such as this are in store in the coming months here in the Great Lake State — and they can not come soon enough. Even though we are only 16 months away from Gretchen Whitmer’s re-election attempt, there is no reason to wait to remove her from office to limit her power grabs. People are making use of the time until November of 2022 to limit what she can do in her remaining time and limit the damage that can be done.

Well done, Michigan — keep it up.