Group Launches Petition to Limit Emergency Health Powers in Michigan

By Steven Kovac
Steven Kovac
Steven Kovac
Reporter
Steven Kovac is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Michigan. He is a former small businessman, local elected official, and conservative political activist. He is an ordained minister of the Gospel. Steven and his wife of 32 years have two grown daughters. He can be reached at steven.kovac@epochtimes.us
October 4, 2021 Updated: October 4, 2021

Michigan residents who are fed up with government-imposed lockdowns and health department mandates have begun a petition drive to put control over departmental orders into the hands of their elected representatives.

The proposal preserves the authority of public health professionals to initially determine the need to control an outbreak of an infectious disease by public health orders, although it would require the determination to be in writing. The change also wouldn’t hinder the health department’s ability to quickly respond to a health emergency.

Under the proposal, all emergency public orders to fight an epidemic would expire after 28 days. It would then be up to health officials to request an extension for a specific number of days from either the state legislature or, in the case of local departments, from elected county commissions and municipal councils.

The Michigan constitution gives citizens the right to initiate legislation by petition.

If the petitioners obtain the required 340,000 valid signatures within 180 days, the proposal will go before the state legislature, which has two options: It may place the proposal on the ballot as a referendum in the next general election, or the legislature itself may vote on the proposal.

If the proposal is approved by a majority vote of both houses of the legislature, it becomes the law of the land and isn’t subject to a veto by the governor.

Citizens used this procedure successfully earlier in 2021 to abolish the 1945 Emergency Powers Act, which gave Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, statutory authority to impose stringent public health restrictions on Michigan’s people, schools, businesses, and other institutions during the pandemic.

Whitmer reacted to the move by shifting the responsibility of ordering lockdowns and mandates from the Office of the Governor to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as well as to county and municipal health departments.

The citizens’ group that spearheaded the successful effort to curtail the powers of the Michigan governor was Unlock Michigan. It has since evolved into Unlock to ReformMI, a group dedicated to limiting the emergency powers of the health department and to restoring its accountability to elected leaders.

“We did it once, now let’s do it again! Only this time, let’s put the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in line. No more endless governing by decree,” the group said in an online statement.

Department health officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Steven Kovac
Reporter
Steven Kovac is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Michigan. He is a former small businessman, local elected official, and conservative political activist. He is an ordained minister of the Gospel. Steven and his wife of 32 years have two grown daughters. He can be reached at steven.kovac@epochtimes.us