Sen. MacDonald supports defending Legislature’s role during emergencies

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Thursday supported measures to continue many noninvasive COVID-19 protections and defend the Legislature’s role during a state of emergency.

“Macomb families have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 public health crisis, and they continue to do their part to save lives and protect our communities,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “From our front-line health care workers to those forced to stay at home, the people have made tremendous sacrifices during this pandemic, and they deserve to have a say in how their government affects their lives. That’s what this is all about: ensuring that the people have a voice through their elected representatives in the Legislature.

“This is all necessary because the governor refuses to recognize the Legislature’s role during a state of emergency or to work with us on future orders that affect all Michigan families.”

Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-4 on March 10 declaring a state of emergency across Michigan to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and she issued EO 2020-33 on April 1 to include a state of disaster related to the pandemic. On April 7, the Legislature adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 24 to extend the states of emergency and disaster through April 30.

Senate Resolution 114 allows the Senate to challenge in court any executive actions taken by the governor after the Legislature’s state of emergency extension expired on May 1.

The Senate also 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, distance learning for schools, and liability protections for health care workers treating patients in innovative ways. The bill does not include the governor’s stay-at-home order.

“This legislation would build a framework for a cooperative, co-equal state government with the governor and the Legislature working together to achieve the common goal of stopping the COVID-19 outbreak and protecting our people,” MacDonald said. “I hope the governor reconsiders her opposition to shared power and decision-making, signs this bill into law, and continues many emergency orders that are helping safeguard health care workers and ensure our students complete their education.”