Legislation Would Limit State's Ability to Put Restrictions on Small Business
The state’s leading small business advocate, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), applauded action by the State Senate on March 3rd to tie budget appropriations to legislation that would place limits on emergency orders issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Senate Republicans passed SB 1, sponsored by Senator Lana Theis, that would limit MDHHS’ ability to issue emergency orders for more than 28 days without legislative approval. They then tied the legislation to $350 million of federal funding in the budget supplemental bill HB 4047 which was also passed.
“Since the Michigan Supreme Court declared Governor Whitmer’s issuance of executive orders to restrict and close businesses unconstitutional last fall, she has been issuing similar emergency orders through the MDHHS,” said NFIB Michigan State Director, Charlie Owens. “We fully support efforts by the Senate and House to condition budget appropriations on a return to democracy in the governance of our state and putting an end to the governor’s unilateral and endless emergency orders.”
House and Senate Republicans have introduced two bills which would limit MDHHS’ authority. SB 1 sponsored by Senator Lana Theis and HB 4267 sponsored by Rep. John Roth would limit MDHHS’ ability to issue emergency orders for more than 28 days with legislative approval. HB 4268 sponsored by Rep. Luke Meerman would prohibit MDHHS from closing “non-essential” businesses if they are complying with the same safety standards as businesses who have been deemed “essential” by the government.
“Between the Governor’s unconstitutional Executive Orders and now the Emergency Orders from the Department of Health and Human Services, the citizens of Michigan are left without a voice,” said Owens. “Our legislators who were duly elected to represent us have no authority or power to challenge or change these orders and regulations which have harmed countless small businesses in Michigan.”
The legislation now heads to the state House for further action.