Governor Whitmer Should Not Have Executive Powers to Enact COVID Restrictions

Shep Slack, Columnist

Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, our leaders’ powers have been stretched and some of our rights have somewhat seemed to have diminished. Most states closed down in March and April each with their governors enacting an emergency order, allowing them to quickly enact emergency legislation to fight against the pandemic. While this did seem somewhat reasonable for the first couple of weeks or a month, having this emergency order go on for almost a year is ridiculous. If we allow this to continue, the state executive branches could in the future call anything an emergency and keep trying to stretch out their power. The emergency executive powers granted to governors are meant to be used for periods from a week to a month in order to quickly solve or prevent a situation. After 8-9 months I think the state legislative branch can take it from here Whitmer. The continuation of Whitmer’s emergency executive powers is a clear executive power grab which has gone on for long enough, it is time for laws to be back in the hands of lawmakers, and it is time for the citizens of the State of Michigan to no longer fear all powerful Whitmer.

There have been multiple lawsuits filed against Whitmer and recently in late September early October the State Supreme court took up a case that determined whether or not the two laws Whitmer was claiming gave her power to keep her emergency executive power were constitutional or not. The two laws in question were the Michigan Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945 and the Michigan Emergency Powers Act of 1976.These laws both basically gave her the power to declare a statewide emergency and almost total power over legislation with emergency powers and that she could continue this declaration of an emergency at her discretion. The justices ruled 4-3 on both questions and declared both laws unconstitutional, stating that the act of 1945 “constitutes an unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive.” and furthermore stating that “almost certainly,no individual in the history of this state has ever been vested with as much concentrated and standardless power to regulate the lives of our people”. One official in our state government having that much unchecked power is exactly what our country should never have.

Leaving behind the extreme unconstitutionality and somewhat dictatorial aspects of Whitmer’s 8 month power grab, the mandated laws she enacted while all powerful may have helped slow the spread of COVID-19 but by doing so left our economy in ruins. The Michigan seasonally adjusted job rate in April rose “sharply to 22.7%” according to which is an all time high since at least 1976. With a 3 week shutdown occurring right now many businesses are fearing another one month to two month shutdown in the works. Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan, stated that many businesses are “in no condition to survive another shutdown” and “many businesses are hanging on by a thread”. The workers and small businesses of Michigan can’t afford another shutdown, giving Governor Whitmer back her power would put the nail in the coffin for many financially.