CBS Detroit – As Governor Gretchen Whitmer still has the state under restrictions from the Coronavirus, Republican’s in the legislature disagree.

In an article reported by MLive, both the house and the senate are suing her. Filing the suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims. They contend that her authority under the 1976 Emergency Powers Act is up. Claiming that for her to make any more extensions requires input from the legislature.

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The Governor feels she is operating under the 1945 emergency powers law that allows the Governor to extend states of emergencies indefinitely. However, the 1976 law prescribes a limit of 28 days without approval from the legislature. That time period has elapsed. House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clark) feel this is unconstitutional, and are elevating the issue to the courts.

In a motion filed to the Court of Claims, attornies for the House and Senate wrote:

The Governor is acting pursuant to emergency powers that she does not have while eviscerating laws that she is charged to enforce. She has chosen to regulate every aspect of nearly 10 million lives with no consent or input from the people’s representatives, whose assistance the Governor publicly disdains. No statute or constitutional provision empowers the Governor to declare a statewide, indefinite state of emergency and then rely on that declaration to exercise unfettered lawmaking authority. Quite the opposite: the Michigan Constitution vests that power solely with the Legislature.”

The legislature feels they have been left out of all decisions by Gov. Whitmer, and the state of emergency goes against separations powers and the checks and balances guaranteed in the constitution.

gretchen whitmer

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Shirkey told MLive, “All we wanted and all we’ve ever asked for is the opportunity to participate and understand how decisions are being made… We’ve been left out of that.”

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Last week the Governor’s office released emails revealing the legislature wanted to make an agreement on allowing extensions to the stay at home orders but stipulated that only the legislature could have that authority.

Speaker Chatfield told MLive, “What we’re facing today in our state is an unprecedented challenge that requires an unprecedented level of partnership,”. He continued, “The legislature offered that partnership to the governor last week, but she refused it.”

Earlier this week Senate Majority Leader Shirkey was in favor of getting a citizens petition going saying at the time a lawsuit was likely. Shirkey told Mlive this lawsuit wouldn’t replace a petition drive, but a lawsuit would be faster in making change happen.

“I want to be sure that our state doesn’t face this kind of abuse ever again,” Shirkey told MLive. “Only the Lord knows when we will have another governor whose character could result in a lack of restraint and abuse of powers we are currently enduring across this state.”

While the trend for COVID-19 cases is decreasing, they say Michigan has averaged 700 new cases a day, and 80 daily deaths last week. Shirkey feels the virus isn’t going anywhere, and that it’s time to figure out how to live with it.

Chatfield told MLive, “Talk of a plan doesn’t restore their livelihoods… Talk is great, and I was encouraged by it three weeks ago. We need to see action.”

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