Fissures have grown between governors and legislatures over the need to reopen businesses as the COVID-19 shutdowns continue, but perhaps nowhere more than in Michigan. Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer has enraged many of her constituents with broad and arbitrary orders restricting activities with no known vectors to spreading the virus, such as planting in gardens and traveling between one’s own residences. Massive protests have erupted for the past two weeks over those restrictions, and the GOP-controlled legislature called a special session to attempt to curtail Whitmer’s authority.
Yesterday, the legislature authorized a lawsuit to block Whitmer’s extension of the emergency order, arguing that no such provision exists in Michigan law:
As hundreds of protesters descended upon Michigan’s Capitol building on Thursday to demand an end to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus lockdown, the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature ramped up its efforts to bring the Democratic governor’s emergency powers to an end.
In a renewed effort to reverse Whitmer’s stringent policies aimed at protecting Michiganders amid the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers voted against extending Whitmer’s emergency powers declaration allowing her to enforce a statewide lockdown.
They further voted in favor of giving House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican, the authority to file a lawsuit against the Democratic governor over her handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.