LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature during a special session Friday approved measures to limit the governor’s authority after a state of emergency has been declared and investigate the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Folks in my district are upset with the governor’s stay home order and rightfully so,” said Sen. Kevin Daley, R-Lum. “People deserve to have their voices heard when decisions about their livelihoods are being made. Placing unchecked power in one branch of government is not in the best interest of our state.”
Senate Bill 857 would repeal the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, which does not require legislative input on executive actions, and SB 858 would amend the Emergency Management Act of 1976 to only allow declarations of disaster or emergency to last 14 days before requiring legislative approval, instead of 28 days. This would allow the state to more appropriately respond to the rapidly changing information surrounding an emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe the governor’s previous stay home order went beyond reason and the measures taken today would increase the possibility of having an open discussion regarding the state’s response rather than single-handed executive action,” Daley said.
The Legislature also approved House Concurrent Resolution 20, which would create the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic to more fully review Michigan’s preparedness for and response to the virus outbreak. This bipartisan, bicameral committee will have the ability to subpoena information related to the governor’s actions thus far during the pandemic.
Daley added that the Legislature’s action Friday was more important than ever following Friday morning’s news that the governor would be extending her the stay-at-home order.
“The governor’s blanket rules have resulted in hundreds of thousands of Michiganders being out of work and struggling to provide for their families,” Daley said. “While I am happy to see that some of the burdensome and illogical restrictions included in the previous order have been lifted, I still believe decisions of this magnitude should require input from more than just the executive branch of government.”