LANSING, Mich. – Thursday was a chaotic day in Lansing as legislators say they’re going to let the Michigan state of emergency expire at midnight and protesters demand the state reopen for business.
The state of emergency declared by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on March 10 is set to expire at midnight. Whitmer initially asked the legislature to extend it, but on Wednesday, she said she didn’t need them to. Legislators disagree.
UPDATE -- April 30, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 41,379; Death toll now at 3,789
A rally started around 9 a.m. Thursday, and even in a driving rain it remained loud and, at times, angry.
There were gun-toting protesters among them. The main theme was to demand Whitmer loosen the stay-at-home order more. They wanted the legislators to hear them, as well.
“It seems to be overreaching, and I think the statistics have shown the curve is now going down and we need to make some concessions at this point and let people go back to work,” said Heather Carr, of Troy.
Then, the protest moved indoors. Protesters wanted to get onto the House floor, but Michigan State Police troopers and House sergeants-at-arms blocked the doors.
The House went about its business and approved Senate bills limiting Whitmer’s emergency powers. She will veto.
Then, the House codified executive orders into law preventing any disruptions, but adjourned without taking up the extension.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield said the next stop might be a courtroom.
“We believe the law is very clear on this,” Chatfield said. “That’s why every extension since 1976 has come through legislative approval, because that is what the law requires. We followed the law today. We want to partner with the governor next week. We don’t want this to have to go to court, but should she reject our vote, that’s where we’re going.”
The Senate has been in recess most of the day but is expected to go back into session and approve the bills passed by the House earlier in the day.
We’re also expecting the minority leader to speak about the situation. He’s made it clear he is not happy with Whitmer and isn’t interested in working with her.