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Whitmer Vetoes Bill To Limit Use Of Emergency Communication Network

Gilles Lambert

Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill Friday that would limit her use of a statewide emergency warning system.

Republicans in the Legislature adopted the bill in an effort to narrow her use of emergency powers exercised in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In this case, it was sending mass mobile phone messages reminding people of stay-at-home orders and mask mandates.

In her veto letter, Whitmer said: “This bill would add complexity to the administration of the state’s public threat alert system, making it harder for law enforcement officers to do their jobs and making Michiganders less safe.”

She also said that the bill missed its mark. That’s because the communications system in the bill is not the one used by the state last year to send alerts to mobile phones on COVID-19 orders.

The Whitmer administration used the same system as the one used to issue AMBER alerts, evacuation notices and shelter-in-place warnings.

Whitmer said the system in the bill has been used only once since 2016, and that was to alert people about an active shooter situation.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Bradley Slagh of Zeeland, told the Gongwer News Service he was not aware until after the bill was adopted that it focused on the wrong system, and said he might introduce a new bill. That’s despite the fact that Whitmer would likely veto that bill, as well.

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