Lawmakers move to take away governor’s emergency powers
The GOP-led state Senate voted on Thursday to strip Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of her emergency powers. Those are the same powers that allowed her to declare a state of emergency early on in the pandemic.
Unlike normal legislation, this vote cannot be vetoed by the governor.
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What Happened: Opponents of the governor’s orders to lockdown much of the state during the pandemic managed to gather enough signatures to put a proposition up for a statewide vote. That proposition would eliminate a 1945 law giving the governor the power to declare a state of emergency.
Normally that proposal would go before voters. However, state law allows lawmakers to adopt any measure that gains enough signatures to go on the ballot. And that vote is veto-proof.
What Happens Next: The state House, which is also controlled by Republicans, could vote next week on the measure. That’s expected to pass.
Just because lawmakers overturn this law doesn’t mean the governor is powerless.
For one thing, the law in question was already struck down by the state Supreme Court last year.
For another thing, there are other statutes that allow state government to issue emergency orders in unprecedented circumstances, such as a pandemic.
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