Michigan Legislature Approves Citizen Petition to Repeal Governor’s Emergency Powers
The Michigan legislature has approved a citizen-initiated bill that will strip all future governors of the emergency powers granted in the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act. The controversial act was used by Governor Whitmer in the early days of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic to implement restrictions in the mitigation of the disease.
The bill was passed after over 340,000 signatures were certified by the Michigan Board of Canvassers certified the 'Unlock Michigan' petition at the order of the Michigan Supreme Court. This citizen-led process made the bill vetoproof by the governor. The Republican-led House voted 60-48 on Wednesday to repeal the law that gave governors broad emergency powers. Their vote follows the Republican-controlled Michigan Senate vote last week 20-15.
In the future, the governor will only be able to declare an emergency longer than 28 days with approval from lawmakers. It is currently unclear if this repeal will have any practical effect on Michigan law as the Michigan Supreme Court had already declared the 1945 act 'unconstitutional'.
Most Covid-19 restrictions then shifted to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services after the October ruling. Nearly all of those measures were ended back in June.
Those that organized the initial ballot drive say they will now target the MDHHS and the laws that allow them to enforce public health restrictions. As of today, the website says:
Let’s do with Michigan’s public health law what we did with the Emergency Powers law! No governing by decree. Require the Legislature’s consent after 28 days.