Sen. Victory supports limiting governor’s emergency powers

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Roger Victory on Friday supported measures to increase legislative oversight of the governor’s extraordinary powers during a state of emergency and create a new bipartisan COVID-19 panel.

“We owe it to the hardworking people of Ottawa County and the entire state to ensure that their voice will always be heard, especially when it concerns limiting their freedom,” said Victory, R-Hudsonville. “The COVID-19 outbreak is a serious public health emergency and required a serious response. However, the governor and the Legislature work for the people, and ultimately, the people must have a say in what actions are taken — and that’s what these reforms will protect.”

Senate Bill 857 would repeal the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, which does not require legislative input on executive actions, and SB 858 would amend the Emergency Management Act of 1976 to only allow declarations of disaster or emergency to last 14 days before requiring legislative approval, instead of 28 days.

The Legislature also approved House Concurrent Resolution 20 to create the bicameral, bipartisan Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Senate actions came on the same day the governor announced a new executive order extending her stay-at-home order until May 15 while lifting some restrictions on outdoor activities, allowing some workers to go back to work, and ordering people to wear masks in public enclosed places.

“It’s great the governor is finally letting lawn care and greenhouse operations reopen and allowing families to once again enjoy the outdoors golfing or boating, but I’m upset that the governor still continues to unnecessarily limit the ability of many other responsible folks to safely return to work,” Victory said. “We did not extend the governor’s state of emergency, which expires on April 30. Between now and then, I hope the governor will listen to the people and commit to detailed and strategic steps to get Michigan back to work.”

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