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Unlock Michigan's repeal of 1945 state of emergency law halfway to goal

someone holding a clipboard while another person signs a petition
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Michigan courts have upheld Governor Gretchen Whitmer's legal authority to unilaterally extend a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic - but that may be moot by the end of this year.

Organizers of Unlock Michigan say they expect their ballot initiative to be certified by the Secretary of State by the end of the year, and submitted to the state legislature for consideration.

The initiative seeks to repeal the 1945 law that lets governors extend a state of emergency without getting legislative approval. 

Unlock Michigan spokesman Fred Wszolek says the campaign is using paid circulators, in addition to 60,000 people who have volunteered to get signatures on petitions for Unlock Michigan. 

He says in just six weeks, the campaign has gathered more than half the signatures necessary to be certified. Wszolek ays COVID-19 is going to be a problem for some time, "but it's no longer an emergency that requires that we suspend the way the constitution is supposed to work."

If the initiative is certified, the state legislature can adopt it into law, rather than placing it on the ballot for voters to decide. Republican leaders say they plan to do just that.

If they do not, then the ballot initiative would go on the ballot in November 2022.

Repeal of the law would mean the governor would have to rely on another Michigan state of emergency law, which requires governors to seek approval from the state legislature every 28 days in order to extend a state of emergency.

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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