State Watch

Michigan court rules governor has authority to extend state of emergency

A state court in Michigan ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has the authority to extend the state’s state of emergency, refuting claims made by GOP leaders in the legislature that she overstepped her authority. 

The judge called claims by the Republican state lawmakers “meritless.” 

Judge Cynthia Stephen noted that Whitmer did exceed her authority by trying to extend the state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act of 1976, which requires approval by the legislature, acccording to the Detroit News.

However, the governor did have the constitutional authority to extend the state of emergency under the Emergency Management Act of 1945, the judge ruled. 

“Through two distinct acts, stated in plain and certain terms, the Legislature has granted the governor broad but focused authority to respond to emergencies that affect the state and its people,” Stephens said, according to the Detroit News.

The ruling overrides a legal challenge from the state’s Republican-controlled legislature claiming Whitmer doesn’t have the authority to extend the state of emergency past the expiration date in April. 

GOP lawmakers told the Detroit News they plan to appeal the ruling. The lawmakers filed the lawsuit on May 6 after Whitmer extended the state of emergency in Michigan through May 28.

“We are vindicated in our assertion that the governor acted unlawfully in attempting to extend the states of emergency and disaster under the Emergency Management Act without legislative approval,” state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) told the Detroit News. “We are confident in our position and will appeal this ruling.”


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