LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Roger Victory on Thursday voted to continue many noninvasive COVID-19 protections and defend the Legislature’s role in states of emergency.
“The COVID-19 coronavirus is likely to be in Michigan for a long time, and sooner rather than later, the hardworking people of Michigan deserve to have a voice in decisions that affect their families,” said Victory, R-Hudsonville. “We did not extend the governor’s state of emergency or her stay-at-home executive order. We acted to continue protections for our front-line health care workers, safeguards for our most vulnerable citizens, and commonsense reforms for folks dealing with the wide-raging impacts of the virus on everyday life.”
The Senate sent the governor legislation to put several COVID-19 executive orders into law and extend those that need to continue to help fight the virus and deal with its impacts. Among the 28 orders included in Senate Bill 858 are those regarding expanded unemployment benefits (EO 2020-57), distance learning for schools (EO 2020-35), and liability protections for health care workers treating patients in innovative ways (EO 2020-39).
The bill does not include or extend the state of emergency declaration or the governor’s stay-at-home order (EO 2020-59).
The Senate also approved Senate Resolution 114 to allow the body to challenge in court any executive actions taken by the governor after the Legislature’s state of emergency extension expires on May 1.
“The governor has operated with unchecked power and denied Michiganders their seat at the table of government during the COVID-19 crisis,” Victory said. “We can protect the voices of Ottawa County families while also helping protect them from the virus. It’s not an either-or decision. It’s time for the governor to work with the Legislature on how to best fight the spread of COVID-19 and reopen Michigan as soon as is safely possible.”
Victory said that while some of the governor’s COVID-19 executive orders were done to maintain the health and safety of Michigan families, many of them were too broad or confusing.
“This resulted in disastrous consequences for at least one Ottawa County resident, who was repeatedly denied the chemotherapy treatment due to confusion about one of the governor’s orders,” Victory said. “The mass confusion highlights the need for more oversight. After the initial emergency declaration, every law and executive order affecting the good people of our state should be considered in a transparent legislative process.”