LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, today delivered the following remarks on the floor of the Michigan Senate regarding not extending Governor Whitmer’s emergency declaration:
“Over the past several weeks, we have watched our world and our state cope with an unprecedented threat. COVID-19 has brought the threat of infection, but it has also brought unimaginable heartbreak and loss for families.
We have seen everyday workers become everyday heroes as they work to ensure we have access to food and medical care. Parents and children have adapted to working and learning from home. And, loved ones have been forced to die alone in order to protect their families from the threat of the virus.
We have all come to the realization that life is different and is likely to remain different for some time.
We have also learned that there has to be balance between life on lock down and life lived in the presence of COVID-19. We can no longer allow one person to make decisions for 10 million people.
Many weeks ago, our Governor acted quickly at the onset of COVID-19 with a one-size-fits-all, heavy-handed emergency order. Michigan citizens adapted quickly and stayed home to protect themselves and their loved ones.
Our citizens have coped with loss and learned how to safely live and function in the presence of COVID-19.
Now, the legislature must make a choice to either allow our Governor to continue to govern by executive order or to trust our constituents to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families without the Governor mandating a one-size-fits-all, stay-at-home order.
Citizens count on a government structure of checks and balances. The legislature is the voice of the people and we must have a seat at the table to ensure the concerns of our constituents are considered as part of the decision-making process.
The end of the Governor’s emergency declaration means we return to a system of checks and balances that ensures all voices are heard. It also means the legislature must vote to ensure continuity of other necessary changes made via executive order.
The Senate will pass legislation today to require safe practices for all businesses and public places. The same legislation will preserve the vast majority of executive orders necessary to continue changes to programs like unemployment insurance, distance learning for schools, and to ensure we provide immunity for health care workers as they continue to do their brave work.
The Senate will also authorize filing a lawsuit against the Governor. If she does not recognize the end of the emergency declaration, we have no other choice, but to act for our constituents.
The Senate offered to work with our Governor to reach a compromise on the stay-at-home order, but she did not accept our offer.
Now, the Michigan Senate, along with our partners in the House, will begin our work to responsibly lead our state from governance by executive order back to government where all voices are heard and considered,” said Shirkey.