LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking for clarification on when her coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency orders will no longer be in effect.
On Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Whitmer did not have the authority to issue executive orders without the approval of the state legislature.
“It is important to note that this ruling does not take effect for at least 21 days, and until then, my emergency declaration and orders retain the force of law,” Whitmer said shortly after the ruling was announced. “Furthermore, after 21 days, many of the responsive measures I have put in place to control the spread of the virus will continue under alternative sources of authority that were not at issue in today’s ruling.”
But on Sunday, that timeline became less clear, as Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel revealed Whitmer’s orders would not be enforced, effective immediately. Nessel’s office encouraged Michiganders to continue following COVID-19 safety protocols, despite the court’s decision.
Conflicting messages from different branches of the Michigan government has left many wondering when the powers will no longer be in effect. Apparently, Whitmer is among those who wants clarification.
“We need this transition period to protect the 830,000 Michigan workers and families who are depending on unemployment benefits to pay their bills and put food on the table, and to protect Michiganders everywhere who are counting on their leaders to protect them,” Whitmer said. “The Supreme Court has spoken, and while I vehemently disagree with their ruling, I’m ready to work across the aisle with Republicans in the legislature where we can find common ground to slow the spread of the virus and rebuild our economy. It’s time for Republicans in the Legislature to get to work and start showing that they are taking this crisis seriously. They can start by canceling their October recess and getting back to work. Let’s work together and get this done.”
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“The Supreme Court’s ruling raises several legal questions that we are still reviewing," MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. "While we are moving swiftly, this transition will take time. Make no mistake, Gov. Whitmer will continue using every tool at her disposal to keep Michigan families, frontline workers, and small businesses safe from this deadly virus. The same is true for our department. We will use every statutory tool available to protect our state employees and the residents we serve. We also need Michiganders to do their part by wearing a mask, maintaining six feet of physical distancing, washing hands frequently, and getting their flu vaccine. We will get through this together.”
“A transition period is critical to ensure protections for the 830,000 unemployed Michigan workers and families who are counting on us,” said Jeff Donofrio, director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. "These are men and women who lost their jobs due to COVID-19, and depend on expanded benefits to buy prescriptions and groceries, pay their mortgage, and provide for their families. During this crucial transition, we will work closely with the governor and leaders everywhere to protect our workers whose jobs were affected by COVID-19.”