Michigan Legislature Strips Gov. Whitmer of Emergency Powers She Wielded During Pandemic


Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had her emergency powers stripped by the state Legislature on Wednesday.

The majority-Republican state House of Representatives voted 60-48 to repeal the Emergency Powers Act of 1945, according to the Detroit Free Press. The state Senate approved the initiative last week.

Whitmer had used the law since March 2020 to curb civil liberties and restrict businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled the measure unconstitutional in October.

“Yesterday was a great day for Michigan, and yesterday was anything but partisan politics,” U.S. Rep. Lisa McClain of Michigan told Fox News on Friday.

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“It was the voice of the people saying enough is enough,” she added.

A petition to put an end to Whitmer’s emergency powers had gathered over 540,000 signatures in 80 days, according to a group of organizers called Unlock Michigan.

“Hundreds of thousands of our families, friends and neighbors changed Michigan forever when they decided they had enough and stood up to make a difference,” state House Speaker Jason Wentworth said in a statement.

“They deserve a state government that is willing to do the same. They’ve earned that much. That’s why we had their back today and put this petition into law,” he added.

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Unlock Michigan is currently collecting signatures for a petition to require legislative approval for health emergency orders that last longer than 28 days.

“This proposal today is democracy in action. The people decided that they have had enough,” state Rep. Matt Hall said.

“Repealing this emergency law tells the people of Michigan that they have been heard. And our action today helps reestablish needed balance between the executive and legislative branches during an emergency, something that has been so desperately missing during this pandemic.”

Not everyone was happy to see the 1945 law removed from the books.

“Today, House Republicans voted to eradicate an important tool for elected leaders trying to save lives and stop the spread of deadly, infectious diseases like COVID-19, Legionnaire’s, tuberculosis and anthrax,” said Mark Fisk, a spokesman for a group called Keep Michigan Safe.

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State lawmakers had tried to rein in Whitmer’s emergency powers several times, only to have their efforts vetoed.

“Unfortunately, epidemics are not limited to 28 days,” Whitmer said in blocking one attempt in March, according to MLive. “We should not so limit our ability to respond to them.”

Despite Whitmer’s tough restrictions on everything from haircuts to religious services, Michigan became a COVID-19 hotspot last year.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.