The Michigan legislature completed repealing an emergency powers law Wednesday that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) exploited to maintain a perpetual lockdown for months.
A citizens initiative triggered a legislative vote to repeal the 1945 law that was immune to a Whitmer veto. Last week, the Senate voted to repeal the law. On Wednesday, it was the House’s turn.
“As the governor issued unilateral orders around the Legislature, people felt like they had lost their voice in Lansing and had no representation,” state Rep. Matt Hall (R) said during debate.
“They felt the system was not working for them.”
As a result of Whitmer’s endless, unilateral lockdown orders, a group called Unlock Michigan organized a petition drive to collect a sufficient amount of signatures to force a legislative vote or one on the November 2022 ballot. After submitting more signatures than necessary and obtaining verification by the Democrat Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, the state Board of Canvassers refused to approve the signatures, forcing the state Supreme Court to step in twice.
“Those concerned and impacted by these unilateral actions, including many small business owners and families, began circulating this petition because they felt they had no other way for their voice to be heard,” Hall said Wednesday, adding:
They acted in an organic, constructive fashion. Repealing this emergency law tells these many people that they will be heard and helps re-establish needed balance within our state government going forward. I’m proud to stand up for them and be a resounding voice for them today.
Organizers say they will now target public health laws Whitmer used after the 1945 law was ruled unconstitutional in October.
Next, we'll turn our attention to the public health law Whitmer abused to destroy lives, businesses, and futures. Don't bet against our success there either. 2/
— Fred Wszolek (@FredWszolek) July 21, 2021
“Next, we’ll turn our attention to the public health law Whitmer abused to destroy lives, businesses, and futures,” Unlock Michigan spokesman Fred Wszolek posted on Twitter.
“Don’t bet against our success there, either.”
Michigan Rising Action praised the passage of the initiative.
“Today’s vote is a resounding victory for the people of Michigan, who over the past year, suffered needlessly under Governor Whitmer’s abuse of the 1945 Emergency Powers which she used to impose some of the most restrictive COVID rules in the nation,” Eric Ventimiglia, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.
“Thanks to the work of Republicans in the legislature and hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who took part in the Unlock Michigan initiative, Michigan will never again allow Whitmer or future governors to wield unilateral and unchecked power over the people of our state.”