Politics

GOP lawmakers press ahead with in-person voting on Michigan emergency extension


April 05, 2020, 10:18 AM


Sen. Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, House Speaker Lee Chatfield

Republican lawmakers are countering Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's ask for a 70-day extention of an emergency declaration that gives her additional power to fight the spread of coronavirus with a plan to extend it through only May 1.

That's causing controversy, but so is the traditional method through which they seek to approve their proposal: With in-person voting under the Capitol dome this Tuesday.

Yes, in-person voting as other elected bodies hold sessions on Zoom, in-person voting as state residents are told to stay home, in-person voting after a state representative died from a suspected case of COVID-19.

Democrats claim it's unnecessary to meet this soon, due to a technicality they say already extends the governor's emergency powers through this month. Republicans disagree, saying the declaration expires Tuesday.

But the state consitution leaves it unclear whether remote voting is even allowed. The governor herself had to backtrack this week after "imploring" lawmakers not to meet in person, with her office later telling Crain's: "They should come in, extend 70 days, and return to their communities."

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey tells Crain's he's reluctant to approve the full extension because he worries it'll signal that state residents will be out of work and stuck indoors through June.

The number of cases in Michigan is expected to peak between late April and mid-May. Epidiomologists have said that, once past the hump, it will take longer for cases to fall back to zero than it did for them to climb.


Read more:  Detroit Free Press


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