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“Unlock Michigan” goes to Legislature, 2nd drive will seek more restrictions on powers

Carlos Osorio

A state board has certified that an initiative to curtail Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers has gathered enough signatures to put the question before the Legislature.

Republican leaders have promised swift votes on the veto-proof initiative after battling with the governor over her unilateral use of emergency orders during the COVID-19 crisis.

The state Supreme Court has already ruled the governor’s use of that power was too expansive. But Fred Wzolek of Unlock Michigan says that court decision should be backed up by changing the language of the law.

“I believe that bad ideas never really die in Lansing, they just take naps,” he said. “And this one could wake back up.”

Wzolek says the Unlock Michigan campaign will next run a petition campaign ry to prevent to prevent the state health department from enacting lengthy restrictions without the Legislature’s approval.

The new initiative would end emergency public health orders after 28 days unless approved by the Legislature.

The board approved that petition form Tuesday, clearing the way for another signature drive to place limits on the emergency powers of the Whitmer administration, as well as future administrations faced with a health crisis.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.