Unlock Michigan, a group devoted to releasing the state of Michigan from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s draconian lockdown policies, has cleared another hurdle in their fight to eliminate the state’s 1945 Emergency Powers law.
Whitmer famously used the law to keep the state of Michigan under strict lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. In October, Michigan’s Supreme Court invalidated the law, but Unlock Michigan’s goal is to get the law completely wiped from the books to ensure a decision to repeal the law could not be reversed in the future.
State senators voted 20-15 to approve the measure on Thursday, but Democrats blocked it from taking effect immediately. Instead, it must go to the House for final consideration, where it could be approved as early as next week.
If approved, the petition becomes law without the governor’s signature and without the ability for a veto.
(Video: Fox 2 Detroit)
The next challenge that the group faces is securing enough signatures for their petition which would mandate that any epidemic order lasting longer than 28 days require the governor receive approval from the local legislature.
State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) worried that if the petition is passed, the state could face problems in the future.
“In an emergency, you need to be able to move fast, we are putting people in the whole state at risk by taking that away,” Bayer told Fox 2 Detroit.
State Sen. Jim Runestad (R-White Lake) felt differently about Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic and the strict policies the governor implemented.
“She operated for months and months just stroking off different executive orders making dramatic changes. Much of which made no sense at all, which we felt was dangerous – like the nursing home policy. Many things we feel the governor did, we would agree with, there is other things we totally disagreed with – the whole purpose of having a divided government is having a discussion of what is the best thing, ” Runestad explained to Fox 2 Detroit.
Unlock Michigan must collect enough signatures to bring their next priority before the legislature. The collection of signatures for that petition will reportedly begin soon.
“We’ll be done shortly, we’re good at this,” Unlock Michigan spokesperson Fred Wszolek told Bridge Michigan.
“We are going to have other emergencies, we’ve had this bill since 1945 and never had a problem with what governors were supposed to do,” Bayer said while asserting that the motivation for these petitions puts politics over the people of Michigan.
“The legislature wants to protect people as much as the governor wants to, it is our lives, our kids, our grandkids. We would be very involved in protecting the people of Michigan,” Runestad argued.
Whitmer came under fire numerous times during the pandemic for violating her own orders. In May, she was forced to issue a public apology after a photo of her failing to abide by social distancing guidelines at a local bar went viral.
Earlier this year, Whitmer flew on a private jet to visit her father in Florida following the migration of two of her top aides to Florida despite her own recommendation against traveling for spring break.
The governor was also criticized for allowing nursing homes and assisted living facilities to intake patients who tested positive for COVID-19.
“She did exactly what Cuomo did except for the fact that we’re still co-mingling,” said journalist Charlie LeDuff who noted that the policy continued in Michigan long after it was stopped in New York, which faced a similar crisis under Governor Cuomo.
Whitmer also joined protestors on the streets of Detroit to protest the murder of George Floyd last June despite her own stay-at-home-order.
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