Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has become notorious over the last year for imposing some of the country’s toughest rules and restrictions in light of COVID-19. But it looks like her ability to do so may be coming to an end.
This week, the Michigan state Senate voted to repeal Whitmer’s emergency powers, the Washington Examiner reported.
People taking back power
According to the Examiner, the vote took place on Thursday and came down along partisan lines, with 20 lawmakers expressing support for the move and 15 standing in opposition.
At issue was a petition put forward by the group Unlock Michigan. The organization describes itself as “a coalition of concerned Michiganders who believe that Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s crushing lockdown of life and business across Michigan is a dangerous threat to our livelihoods and constitutional liberties.”
Its petition, which has amassed over 340,000 signatures, calls upon state legislators to curtail the governor’s power under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act.
The 1945 law has provided a legal basis for the wide-ranging coronavirus-related regulations that Whitmer has enforced since the pandemic began.
It states 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.”
State House expected to follow suit
The legislation goes on to state that accompanying emergency powers only come to an end “upon declaration by the governor that the emergency no longer exists.”
Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett is among those championing Unlock Michigan’s petition, and he insists that it is time Whitmer’s actions were brought under control.
“No matter what challenges we face, no matter how hard the task is, it is not an appropriate excuse or substitute to say that one person can continuously govern and make rules that have the force of law over the rest of us, and completely bypass the other branches of government,” the Examiner quoted him as saying.
The paper added that Michigan’s state House will likely lend its support to the petition as well. Still, Democrats have accused Unlock Michigan of promoting a dishonest campaign.
One of them is state Sen. Jeremy Moss (D), who tweeted: “We cannot allow people to use deceptive tactics to gather petition signatures, like Unlock Michigan did.”