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Whitmer Vetoes Bill To Constrain Health Order Power

Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill Wednesday and sent a letter saying she won’t won’t sign away her administration’s power to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Republicans are still trying to rein in the different ways Whitmer has employed emergency powers to address COVID-19 in Michigan. The bill vetoed – as expected -- by Whitmer would have required her to seek the Legislature’s approval every 28 days to renew an order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“This bill would create a 28-day limit on epidemic orders. Unfortunately, epidemics are not limited to 28 days,” she wrote. “We should not so limit our ability to respond to them.”

The GOP-controlled Legislature sent her a bill that tied the power to spend $370 million in federal COVID funds to the 28-day requirement. She vetoed a similar bill last year that attempted to limit her administration’s authority to issue public health orders without the Legislature’s approval.

The Michigan Senate has given Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) the authority to file a lawsuit, but that’s not an option he’s exercised so far.    

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.
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