LANSING, Mich. – There are two efforts underway in Michigan to scale back some of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's powers.
The governor has maintained she’s using her emergency power to save lives, but some critics say she’s gone too far. Critics of Whitmer are taking a two-pronged approach to curb her powers -- a citizens initiative to repeal the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945 and the other is to recall her from office.
Chad Baase, a 39-year-old from Albion, is a political activist and businessman. He needed three attempts to get recall language right and his perseverance paid off.
He believes he speaks for many Michiganders and that Whitmer is engaging in a power grab.
“There’s going to be irrevocable harm for so many business owners that’s never going to be able to open back up,” Baase said.
The petition’s language was appealed, so the signature drive to collect 500,000 signatures has stalled. “Unlock Michigan” started collecting signatures -- they’ll need 360,000 signatures -- to repeal the 1945 law through a legislative majority vote and do so without fear of a veto.
“We’ve got some very active Facebook groups in Michigan now with tens of thousands of members,” said Senate majority leader Mike Shirkey. “They’re very frustrated with the way this has been handled unilaterally by our governor.”
State Rep. Ryan Berman of Commerce Township said he believes the governor is clinging to absolute power as long as she can.
“This isn’t an emergency anymore. This is a threat. It’s a known threat. We know what we’re dealing with. We know how to deal with it and we need to work together to get through it and keep Michigan residents safe,” Berman said.
The governor’s office responded to these efforts quoting the governor “All of these political attacks on my power, all of these political attacks on the power of the executive office are incredibly dangerous, and of course I’m going to continue to do what I have done and make decisions around science and saving lives.”
Both these signature drives are depending on the internet to assist them in distributing petitions and collecting signatures.
These efforts were launched after an Ingham County judge upheld the governor’s emergency powers under the 1945 law in a lawsuit. That case moved to the state appeals court is expected to be heard in late august.