The Michigan House of Representatives declined to extend Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state of emergency another 28 days, and instead voted on Thursday to sue her.
Whitmer’s initial state of emergency order, which is separate from the stay-at-home order, expires on Thursday and requires legislative action to be lengthened.
Negotiations on that front fell apart on Wednesday when Whitmer refused to make any concessions on the matter, asserting she has the ultimate control of emergencies.
So the House voted to authorize Speaker Lee Chatfield to sue the governor, saying Whitmer’s “unchecked and undemocratic approach” is not the best way, ABC 12 reported.
“The current status quo relies on one-size-fits-all edicts that unfairly punish millions of people across the state without giving them any recourse or voice in the process,” Chatfield said.
“The people deserve a better solution, and we can provide it.”
The House also passed a resolution restricting a governor’s state of emergency declarations to 14 days. Whitmer has vowed to veto that legislation.
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the capitol and demanded the state be reopened.
“We want Michigan open, we want Michigan back to work,” Jason Howland, one of the protest organizers, told Fox 17.
“We put the event together, we put it on Facebook, and we heard that they were taking down events that had to do with protests or rallies against the wishes of Whitmer,” he said.
Facebook confirmed it removed the protest page “because the event would have defied government guidance on social distancing,” the site reported.
“If I go to a protest social distancing and follow the rules created by the people I’m protesting against, I look pretty silly at the end of the day I feel,” Howland said.
State Sen. Dayna Polehanki, a Democrat from Livonia, posted on Twitter that “men with rifles” were in the Senate gallery and “yelling at us.”
Directly above me, men with rifles yelling at us. Some of my colleagues who own bullet proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today. #mileg pic.twitter.com/voOZpPYWOs
— Senator Dayna Polehanki (@SenPolehanki) April 30, 2020
Polehanki claimed some of her colleagues “who own bullet proof vests” were wearing them.
The Senate is expected to vote on a similar resolution authorizing leaders to pursue legal action against Whitmer’s orders.