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Whitmer issues new state of emergency order amid brewing legal fight with Republican lawmakers

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A recentbattle between Michigan’s Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders over who has the authority to guide the state’s response to the COVID-19outbreak is likely at a point of no return. 

This week, Republican lawmakers refusedto agree to the governor’s call to extend the state of emergency. Legislative leaders say they plan on taking the governor to court over her authority to issue new executive orders to combat COVID-19.

“We can no longer allow one person to make decisions for 10 million people,” says State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued new executive orders Thursday night to extend Michigan’s state of emergency through May 28th.

  • Executive Order 2020-66, which terminates the existing state of emergency and disaster declarations issued under the Emergency Management Act in Executive Order 2020-33.  
  • Executive Order 2020-67, which clarifies that a state of emergency remains in effect under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. The order is effective immediately and continues through May 28, 2020 at 11:59pm. The governor will evaluate the continuing need for this order prior to its expiration, and if she determines that an emergency no longer exists, will terminate or extend the state of emergency declared in this order.  
  • Executive Order 2020-68, which declares a state of emergency and a state of disaster across the State of Michigan under the Emergency Management Act of 1976. The state of emergency and state of disaster declared by this order will be effective through May 28, 2020 at 11:59pm, and the governor will evaluate the continuing need for the order prior to its expiration, terminate the states of emergency and disaster if the threat or danger has passed.  

During a television town hall Thursday night before the new executive orders were issued, Whitmer responded to legislative leaders threatening to take her to court over executive orders.

“Right now is not the time for politics. Right now is the time to do the next right thing,” Whitmer said. “And that is continuing the stay home orders...continuing the state of emergency.”

Whitmer accused individuals pushing to end Michigan’s state of emergency and curtail her stay home order of “turning a blind eye to the fact that over 600 people have died in the last 72 hours.”

As of Thursday, Michigan has 41,379 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,789 people have died. 

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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