Michigan's state of emergency will end "in a matter of months," Gov. Whitmer writes

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer isn't sure when Michigan's emergency order will end, but she's confident it will.

It may not be anytime soon, but her guess is, it'll be in "a matter of months."

All states have some form of a declared emergency, Whitmer wrote in an editorial piece in the Detroit Free Press on Friday. "But the mere passage of time raises questions: Will this emergency ever end? When? And how will we know?"

While COVID-19 has been a tricky virus to understand, treatments to its most harmful effects are being found in common steroids while a march toward a vaccine has developed quickly. 

But until then, it'll be several other factors that will inform when Michigan's enduring emergency declaration ends, the governor argues.

"Achieving a low number of new cases....the sufficient dispersal of a vaccine, a better understanding of immunity, or a combination of these and other considerations," she wrote. 

"In the meantime, we must stay the course."

Michigan's emergency declaration went into effect the same time the first case was reported on March 10. The declaration has served as an umbrella of which she has ordered hundreds of emergency mandates, ranging from lifting restrictions on weight limits on Michigan roads to requiring residents to remain indoors except for essential trips.

The first emergency declarations came and went without controversy. But in late April, House and Senate Republicans in the Michigan legislature started to push back against Whitmer. After they declined to approve an emergency order, she went and ordered another one anyways.

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Since then, a months-long series of court rulings and oral arguments before judges have preceded throughout the summer, calling into question the legitimacy of two emergency declaration laws passed decades ago. While Whitmer has won in both lower court as well as appeals court levels, the State Supreme Court has yet to issue its own ruling.

At the same time, a citizen-driven petition to recall the 1945 law has collected more than 400,000 signatures, enough to submit to the state elections board for review. If approved, a motion to consider repealing the law would be placed in front of the GOP-majority legislature. If passed, it would be veto-proof.

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Whitmer has continuously pushed back on these efforts. On Sept. 18, she reaffirmed the need to keep the emergency order in place.

"The measures I’ve put in place largely rest on emergency powers the Michigan Legislature gave the governor, including a law in place since 1945. This special authority is not surprising. The Legislature as an institution was created to ensure deliberation, debate and public discourse, but emergencies require swift and decisive action."