BY ZACHARY STIEBER | The Epoch Times
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks during a press
conference on Belle Isle in Detroit, Mich., on June 22, 2021. (David
Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
Whitmer, a Democrat, cannot veto the petition.
The Michigan Senate’s 20-15 vote came two days after the Board of State Canvassers certified the petition, which was started by a group called Unlock Michigan that gathered over 340,000 signatures.
The board deadlocked 2-2 in April but voted 3-0 this time
The petition took aim at the 1945 Emergency Powers
Act that enabled Whitmer to impose harsh restrictions on state residents during
the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republicans on the Senate floor before the vote praised
the petition and said it was needed to curb Whitmer’s power.
“This initiative represents a people’s veto of this
governor and the unlimited power that she’s tried to claim during this
pandemic,” state Sen. Tom Barrett, a Republican, told colleagues.
Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, another
Republican, said the petition “doesn’t take power away” but “reassesses where
the power belongs.”
Democrats offered different explanations for their “no”
State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a Democrat, argued that
the legislature is “a deliberatively slow moving body.”
“But when an emergency faces our state, we don’t have the
luxury of time. That is what this legislature of the past put into place. And I
could not in good conscience support or measure to remove those powers and put
future residents at risk if the executive of the state does not have the
ability to act quickly,” she said.
A Whitmer spokesperson did not respond to a request for
A Michigan House of Representatives GOP spokesman told
news outlets that the chamber will vote on the petition soon. If it does not
within approximately one month, or if the vote fails, then voters will decide
on whether to repeal the emergency powers law in the next election.
Republicans control both chambers of the legislature in
If the House follows the Senate, then an emergency
declaration will be good for 28 days before requiring the legislature’s
approval to be extended.
The vote on Thursday came after a series of developments,
including a ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court that the
emergency powers law was unconstitutional. The court later ordered
the Board of State Canvassers to certify the petition after the board
deadlocked along party lines, with Republicans voting for and Democrats
against, in April.
Unlock Michigan, meanwhile, received approval this week
for a new petition that would limit emergency powers for the Michigan
Department of Health. Unlock Michigan spokesperson Fred Wzolek told The Epoch Times that the petition
was “another step to keep Whitmer from ruling by decree on her own.”
Steven Kovac contributed to this