More than 300,000 Signatures Obtained to End Whitmer Emergency Rule

Date: August 25, 2020

Ballot Initiative to End Governor's Emergency Rule on Track

The “Unlock Michigan” ballot initiative supported by NFIB has surpassed 300,000 signatures collected. The petition initiative would repeal the outdated 1945 law that Governor Whitmer has been using to endlessly continue the “State of Emergency” and issue executive orders that do not require legislative oversight or approval. The orders have devasted small business in Michigan since they were first extended past the legislature’s initial approval under the 1976 Emergency Management Act back in April. The 1976 Act sets the duration of a state of emergency at 28 days with further extensions requiring legislative approval.

NFIB is the only statewide business organization to fully support the ballot initiative to end Governor Whitmer’s ability to declare an emergency without legislative approval.

The petition effort is even more important after a recent Court of Appeals decision found in favor of the governor’s use of the outdated law. The decision was issued in response to a lawsuit brought by the legislature challenging the constitutionality of the governor’s use of the 1945 Act. Although the case will be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, with a hearing date in September, repealing the 1945 Act would take the decision out of the court’s hands.

The petition initiative needs to obtain at least 340,047 valid signatures to be presented to the legislature for approval. Passage by a simple majority vote of both chambers in the legislature would repeal the law without the governor’s approval. Both Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield have announced they would push the measure through when it is put before the legislature.

Petition organizers have made it clear that the ultimate goal is to collect 500,000 signatures to be certain that the 340,047 number is more than met after expected challenges by the governor’s opposition groups.

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