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Campaign to end Whitmer powers submits signatures

someone holding a clipboard while another person signs a petition
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A petition drive has turned in hundreds of thousands of signatures in an effort to restrict Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s broad emergency powers.

The governor has used that authority to enact policies to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

The Unlock Michigan campaign says Whitmer’s abused that power, hurting businesses and unnecessarily restricting everyday activities for Michiganders.

Fred Wzolek is the spokesman for Unlock Michigan.

“Well, I don’t think anyone contests that COVID-19 is a problem, but certainly the emergency has passed. We don’t need minute-by-minute decision making by the executive branch. We can get back to passing laws.” 

Wzolek says many of the governor’s orders are arbitrary.

“You know, you’re a bar that had to close if 70% of your revenue came from alcohol, but you were OK to stay open if 69% of your revenue came from alcohol. That’s not science. That’s just government sausage-making and we can have the Legislature involved in those sorts of decisions going forward.”

It would take 340,047 signatures of registered voters to put a veto-proof question to the Legislature.

A fight is expected over whether there are enough valid signatures.

On Monday, Michigan’s attorney general launched an investigation into Unlock Michigan after people reported they were deceived by signature gatherers.

Wzolek called the investigation “a farce,” and said signatures gathered by an independent contactor were not part of the filing.

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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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