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Whitmer Vetoes Bill To Exempt Graduations From Crowd Limits

Brett Jordan via Unsplash

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday vetoed Republican-sponsored legislation that would have exempted high school graduation ceremonies from COVID-19 restrictions on Michigan crowd sizes, calling it “half-baked and punchless.”

The veto, which was expected, came two days after her administration’s order was loosened to end outdoor capacity limits and limit indoor gatherings to 50% occupancy.

“This bill is a solution in search of a problem,” the Democratic governor wrote to lawmakers. “Rather than sending me half-baked and punchless legislation like HB 4728, I encourage the Legislature to join me in eradicating this pandemic and making transformational investments in our economy.”

When the measure was passed more than two weeks ago, Michigan was restricting crowds at many outdoor stadiums to 1,000. At most indoor arenas, the limit was 375.

Also Thursday, Whitmer vetoed a bill that would have prohibited a governor from issuing an emergency order extending response times for public-records requests or otherwise limiting a public body’s duties under the Freedom of Information Act. She did so for two months early in the pandemic.

The since-expired order, Whitmer said, was designed to protect government officials’ lives during the first surge. She said she will not sign bills that constrain the governor’s ability to protect people.

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