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Legislature extends Gov. Whitmer’s emergency powers

Gretchen whitmer at a microphone
Jake Neher

The Legislature adopted a resolution Tuesday extending Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency authority to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Lawmakers were called into the House and the Senate in small groups to check in before the resolution was adopted.

The resolution extends the governor’s emergency powers until April 30th. The governor had requested a longer extension of 70 days.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) says this measure represents an appropriate limit on her authority.

“There was a difference of opinion, a calculated difference of opinion, and we have the flexibility to extend it beyond of we need to, and, oh, by the way, I hope you were able to recognize how safe we ran session, and how quickly we ran session.”

Many lawmakers wore face masks as they entered the chambers in small groups and distanced from each other to check in. The resolution was adopted by voice votes.

House Democratic Leader Christine Grieg introduced a resolution to allow future votes to be handled remotely.

“There’s too many things going on right now in the state of Michigan, many things that we’ve had challenges with on an ongoing basis, but it just intensified under this pandemic, including unemployment insurance, health care, schools.” 

The Republican leadership said that’s not yet necessary. The measure was referred to a committee to await possible action in the future.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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