Breaking News
More () »

Grand Rapids's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Grand Rapids, Michigan | WZZM13.com

Whitmer calls the legislature 'political theater,' explains extending the state of emergency

The governor responded to the votes the legislature made on Thursday, April 30.
Credit: State of Michigan
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun before a press briefing on Friday, May 1.

LANSING, Mich. — In Friday's press briefing, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had some strong words for the Michigan legislature, which voted down extending her state of emergency and moved to sue her administration. 

The governor renewed the state of emergency until May 28 after the legislature refused to extend it during an in-person session on Thursday. The vote, which has prompted tension between Whitmer and the Republican-led chambers, also brought out a crowd of protesters who also called on legislators to vote down the state of emergency.

Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield said they voted to replace the state of emergency, which was set to expire on May 1, with similar legislation that "protects the emergency measures put into place over the last two months."

The House also voted to authorize a lawsuit that challenges Whitmer's authority and actions to combat the pandemic. When asked if she was concerned about the potential for more lawsuits, she called the actions of the legislature "political gamesmanship without substance."

RELATED: House doesn't extend virus emergency, moves to sue Whitmer

The governor then used her podium to lay out the issues she saw with the bills that were presented in the legislature on Thursday. She said the action lawmakers took was "statutorily flawed" is it is not consistent with the Emergency Management Act, which would be a cause for vetoing. 

She also said it was "constitutionally fatal." 

"What they did violated the title object clause of the state constitution by jamming a number of subjects into a bill that was not legally viable.That is constitutionally flawed, it would have to vetoed for that reason," she said. 

It also was contrary to the public health, she said. Michigan remains in a state of emergency because of the pandemic. 

She said those three reasons are grounds for a veto, but she went further to say it was also procedurally flawed. 

"They didn't even have their act together enough to ensure that they gave an immediate effect. And so the bills that they talked about passing that they lured all these people to Lansing and got people riled up about wouldn't even go into effect until April of 2021," she said. 

The governor also called the actions "incredibly reckless" and "political theater." 

RELATED: Whitmer extends emergency declaration without legislature

Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey have not responded to the governor's recent comments, but they said they passed the legislation so that one person would no longer be in charge of the state of emergency.

The declaration lays the groundwork for 70 executive orders that Whitmer has passed since Michigan first started reporting cases on March 10. 

The vote brought out several hundred hundred who crammed into the state Capitol carrying guns and demanding to be let onto the chamber floor. Many were not wearing masks and violated social distancing guidelines. 

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning calling on Whitmer to "make a deal" with the protesters and urged her to "give a little." 

Whitmer responded during a press briefing Friday afternoon, saying Michigan is not in a political crisis, but rather a health crisis. 

"The spirit of make a deal and the spirit about what happened with the legislature about trying to negotiate sectors opening, we're not in a political crisis where we should just negotiate and find some common ground here," she said. "We're in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed almost 4,000 people in our state."

Shirkey condemned the demonstrators on Friday for using intimidation and the threat of physical harm. 

"Their actions hurt their cause and steal from the rights of others by creating an environment where responsible citizens do not feel safe enough to express themselves" he said in a statement. "They do not represent the Senate Republicans. At best, those so-called protesters are a bunch of jackasses." 

Watch the full press briefing here

Gov. Whitmer's update on state's COVID-19 response

Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Pat Devlin of the Michigan Building Trades and Ryan Maibach, President and CEO of Barton Mallow provide an update regarding the state’s response efforts to COVID-19.

Posted by 13 On Your Side on Friday, May 1, 2020

More stories on 13 ON YOUR SIDE:

►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.

Have a news tip? Email news@13onyourside.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.