Michigan Supreme Court Ends Whitmer's Abuse of Emergency Powers Act

Date: October 03, 2020

Small Business Praises Supreme Court Ruling

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), praised the Supreme Court decision that ruled Governor Whitmer does not possess the authority to exercise emergency powers under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 because that act is an unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch. The high Court also found that Whitmer did not possess the authority under the Emergency Management Act of 1976 to declare states of emergency and disaster as it relates to the new coronavirus pandemic after the legislature refused to renew the state of emergency on April 30.

The Supreme Court has affirmed what many have been saying since day one of the governor’s endless state of emergency: that the balance of power in governance of our state is one of the hallmarks of our system of representative government and must be respected. Without any restraint from the legislature, this governor has issued almost two hundred executive orders that have often been arbitrary, conflicting, and difficult to implement for Michigan small business. As a result, Michigan is struggling to restart our economy and allow small business to reengage in commerce and bring back jobs for our citizens.

It remains to be seen how the court’s decision will impact the “Unlock Michigan” ballot initiative to repeal the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. Although the Act has been declared unconstitutional, a future appeal or court case might result in a different decision if it is left on the books. For this reason, NFIB will continue to support efforts to get the Unlock Michigan ballot initiative before the legislature, or the people, for a vote. While some have claimed the court’s decision renders the 1945 Act moot, we are not certain that is accurate. The best way to drive a stake through the heart of the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 once and for all, is to repeal it.

The governor would still have the necessary powers to declare an emergency under the 1976 Emergency Management Act, but that law would require approval from the legislature every 28 days to extend a “state of emergency”.

An NFIB survey of small business owners reflected the concerns small businesses have with the use of emergency powers in handling the COVID-19 outbreak. When asked if the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945 should be repealed, 74% of small business members said YES, 16% said NO, and 10% were Undecided.

Related Content: Small Business News | Michigan

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