Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is formally declaring a state of disaster in Michigan. She’s asking the state Legislature to approve a 70-day extension of her original March 10th state of emergency. The disaster declaration, combined with the state of emergency, authorizes the State Police and the Office of Emergency Management to expand state efforts to assist local governments in responding to COVID-19. The declaration will remain in place until “disaster conditions no longer exist.” Whitmer is asking Republicans, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, to help win the approval of a concurrent legislative resolution allowing her to extend the state of emergency by an additional 70 days.

Chatfield initially offered that the state House supports an extension, but members are reviewing the details. The Emergency Management Act requires the governor to end the state of emergency within 28 days unless a request for an extension for a specific number of days is approved by resolution of both houses of the Legislature. The House and Senate have not met since March 17, when they passed a $125 million virus-related spending plan. Both chambers are tentatively scheduled to meet next Tuesday, the 7th. That’s the day the declaration of a state of emergency is scheduled to expire.

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