Sen. MacDonald supports more legislative oversight of emergency powers

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Friday supported measures to increase legislative oversight of the governor’s powers during a state of emergency and create a new bipartisan COVID-19 panel.

“Macomb families continue to rise to the extraordinary public health crisis and do their part to save lives and protect our communities,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “These reforms have nothing to do with stopping our efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 or to overturn or extend the governor’s orders. This is simply about making reasonable reforms to ensure the people of Michigan and Macomb have a voice in their government’s actions, especially when those actions affect their lives and liberty.”

Senate Bill 857 would repeal the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, which does not require legislative input on executive actions, and SB 858 would amend the Emergency Management Act of 1976 to only allow declarations of disaster or emergency to last 14 days before requiring legislative approval, instead of 28 days.

The Legislature also approved House Concurrent Resolution 20 to create the bicameral, bipartisan Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Senate actions came on the same day the governor announced a new executive order extending her stay-at-home order until May 15 while lifting some restrictions on outdoor activities, allowing some workers to go back to work, and ordering people to wear masks in public enclosed places.

“It is critical to continue the battle against COVID-19, but we also need to begin the process of allowing more Michigan workers to safely return to work,” MacDonald said. “The revisions in the governor’s new executive order are small but positive steps toward focusing on what work can be done safely instead of trying to define what work is essential.”