Michigan Legislature sues governor over emergency orders, use of power during COVID-19 pandemic

Legislature says she can’t issue orders without approval

LANSING, Mich. – Thursday’s legislative session to decide whether to approve an extension of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency declaration had hundreds of protesters, some armed, demanding and end to the stay-at-home order.

MORE: Extending State of Emergency is not the same thing as extending stay-at-home order

“You know, I live in rural Michigan and there have been no deaths. Why are we locked down? You know, we are social distancing we’re not being stupid. We just want our freedoms so we can get our economy up and running,” said Angie Bakus, who came from Tecumseh to protest.

It has not been a warm and fuzzy week in Lansing between the governor and the Republican-led Legislature. There are two laws on the books regarding a governor’s authority in an emergency.

READ: Whitmer extends State of Emergency after Legislature refused extension

The Legislature is now suing Whitmer. At issue: Can the governor continue issuing emergency Executive Orders without approval from the Legislature? She says yes, they say no.

“We have all come to the realization that life is different and likely to remain different for some time,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, said. “We have also learned that there has to be a balance between life on lockdown and life lived in the presence of COVID-19. We can no longer allow one person to make decisions for 10 million people.”

The Legislature may not have approved an extension of the emergency declaration but Whitmer extended it herself late Thursday.

This means as of right now, all rules and restrictions remain in place until a judge can sort it out.

“We are in state if emergency that is a fact,” Whitner said. “For anyone to declare mission accomplished means they’re turning a blind eye to the fact over 600 people have died in the last 72 hours another thousand people were diagnosed as COVID-19 positive and we have sectors of our state where the numbers are continuing to climb.”

Numbers provided by the state show 3,789 people have died in Michigan from COVID-19 since the start of the crisis.

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