LANSING, Mich., April 24, 2020 — Instead of calling an emergency session in Lansing today to focus on how and when to reopen the economy, session was called to pass a resolution to investigate Governor Whitmer’s handling of COVID-19. Michigan Senators took the emergency session day one step further and introduced and voted on bills that look to repeal some of the emergency powers of Michigan’s governor. The bills modify the executive’s branch power for state financing and management, as well as the duration of executive orders, proclamations and directives. In response, State Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) had the following to say:

“Now is not the time to focus our efforts on what one party feels our Governor did wrong during the first month of the COVID-19 crisis. Constituents and small business owners are asking legislators to immediately focus on a reopening plan that increases testing of our frontline workers who are essential employees and currently working — not just those who have symptoms. They are asking for our U.P. hospitals and healthcare providers to be more transparent and release more information on how many people they have tested, how much personal protective equipment supplies they have on hand, and what their ability is to respond should their community see an uptick in cases before we allow elective surgeries to come back. And they want to know how we are going to handle the large influx of tourists that traditionally have come from all over the world in our reopening plan. These are the critical issues your legislators need to be focused on and talking about now, not picking apart the governor’s performance last month.”

After rapid spikes of COVID-19 throughout late March and the beginning of April, the rate of increase for both cases and related deaths has begun slowing down in most areas of the state, largely due to Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home order.

“If you like the fact that the U.P. has effectively slowed the spread of COVID-19 infections, thank Governor Whitmer. If you don’t like some of the executive orders that limit motorized boating, golfing or home and garden purchases, your legislators can respectfully ask the governor to reconsider them. We have done that, and today Governor Whitmer reinstated them.”

“The best use of your legislator’s time when they aren’t focused on unemployment claims is to stay focused on what a safe, regional reopening plan looks like for the U.P. This is an extremely complex plan that will require all our energy right now to get answers from medical experts and professionals, meet with small business owners and document how they can safely conduct their businesses, and reassure our residents that we have considered their safety just as much as our economy. Your legislators can do this, but not if the focus of Republicans turns to taking power away from the governor. This is a serious miscalculation on their part that takes considerable time and attention away from the people of Michigan. If they want to take away the governor’s emergency powers, I’d ask them to please save that debate until after we give businesses certainty and safety reassurances to residents as we reopen parts of our state next month.”

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