The state House of Representatives voted Wednesday to repeal a law Governor Gretchen Whitmer used to issue emergency orders during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michigan’s Supreme Court already declared the 1945 measure Whitmer cited as unconstitutional.
Republicans felt chafed by Whitmer’s continued use of unilateral COVID orders.
Republican Rep. Andrew Fink said Whitmer used those powers in defiance of the wishes of the Legislature.
“Allow me to tell you what I think of the idea that we need the governor to do our job for us months into the outbreak of a new virus. I think that idea is disturbing in its distrust of the citizens of this state," he said.
"I think that idea is depressing in its view of the Legislature’s capacity to conduct its work in difficult circumstances.”
Democratic Rep. Mari Manoogian said the initiative should instead go to the ballot.
“So that every single Michigander has an opportunity to voice their opinion about this.”
Three Democrats crossed over to join the Republican majority. Republican Rep. Sarah Lightner said the measure allows the Legislature to reclaim its place as an equal branch of government.
“This is not about any one governor. This is about letting the people of Michigan know that no longer will a governor be allowed to use a loophole to rule over the state unilaterally and indefinitely.”
The governor cannot veto the initiative.
There is another emergency powers law that allows the governor to issue emergency orders with periodic reauthorization from the Legislature.
The group that organized the ballot drive now is targeting a different law that enabled her administration to keep restrictions intact.