Senate authorizes legal action against governor, ensures resources, protections available during emergency

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Senate Bill 858 and Senate Resolution 114, extending safety protocols for businesses and public places and defending the Legislature’s role in states of emergency.

Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, who cosponsored SR 114, issued the following statement after both measures were approved:

“I believe Michigan’s businesses should be given guidelines for safely getting back to work, and then be allowed to do so,” Theis said. “Doing so does not ignore the seriousness of COVID-19 — it is dangerous and will likely be here for some time. However, there are other threats to the health and safety of Michiganders beyond COVID-19.

“There are people waiting in food lines that have never before been on any form of government assistance. There are multi-generational businesses that cannot survive another two weeks of being shut down without going under. Suicide hotlines are ringing off the hook, domestic assaults are up dramatically, even CPR calls are up.

“I have friends who have died from COVID-19, and people very close to me that have gotten the disease. I am not discounting the impact of the disease itself, but we also cannot discount the impact of other issues people are dealing with. To do so would be irresponsible. We can, and must, address them all.

“I also support allowing the Senate majority leader to take our governor to court over her rejection of the democratic process as provided in both our state and federal constitutions.

“We acted in good faith and with the best of intentions in giving her emergency powers at the beginning of this crisis. When she asked to extend the emergency, we again acted with the best information and mirrored the federal plan to extend the emergency through April 30. However, today’s vote does not extend an emergency declaration. Instead, we voted to put into law protections that mirror the governor’s executive orders so that our health care workers, for example, may continue functioning beyond the emergency declaration.

“It is imperative we get back to the business of governing — Michigan was never intended to be governed as a dictatorship or monarchy, and we must restore the balance of power.”

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Sen. Lana Theis speaks from the Senate floor Thursday, April 30, 2020.