Whitmer vetoes Republican bill that would kill emergency health rules without legislature approval
LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a bill Wednesday that would kill emergency public health orders after 28 days unless the Legislature approved, another shot in the power struggle between Michigan's Democratic chief executive and the state's Republican lawmakers over how to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill "would recklessly undermine" efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Whitmer said.
"Unfortunately, epidemics are not limited to 28 days. We should not so limit our ability to respond to them," the governor said.
Whitmer has turned to her health department to set many virus-related rules in Michigan, including mask mandates, limits on gathering sizes, and a ban on indoor restaurant dining, since losing a court case in October. The state Supreme Court said a 1945 law that served as the foundation for months of Whitmer's unilateral orders was unconstitutional.
Republicans who control the House and Senate have repeatedly complained that Whitmer has ignored them in making COVID-19 policies and ordered too many one-size-fits-all remedies.
The state reported more than 4,200 new cases Wednesday and 51 deaths. More than 12,000 Michigan residents have died since March.
"We all want this pandemic to be over. Let's do what needs to be done now so we can return to a strong economy and normal day-to-day activities," Whitmer said in her veto letter.
She also vetoed a bill that would have repealed the '45 law that was declared unconstitutional.