We are currently facing a health crisis that is causing a severe strain on families across the state.
Critical front-line workers are under a great deal of stress as they continue to serve their communities and risk their health and that of their families. Small businesses across the state risk closing their doors, and people who are healthy and otherwise able to work are confined to their homes as they wait for answers on their unemployment and watch their savings dry up.
This outbreak has caused significant harm to our economy, people’s livelihoods and the physical and mental health of countless Michiganders.
I have received countless calls from constituents who are unable to receive a response from the Unemployment Insurance Agency as they patiently wait to return to work. Times are tough enough as it is; ambiguous, burdensome government mandates that do not deliver on their promises are straining people who are already pushed to the limit.
The most effective and responsible path would have been listening to the pleas from the people, working together and moving forward. When we offered to share what we were hearing from our districts, and when we needed commonsense measures most, Governor Whitmer dismissed the Legislature, and in turn she dismissed the people’s voice.
The Senate recently approved legislation that would continue to provide aid to Michiganders in need during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The measure would have put several COVID-19-related executive orders into law – including those regarding expanded unemployment benefits, distance learning for schools, and liability protections for health care workers treating patients in innovative ways.
Unfortunately, the governor vetoed this legislation days after going around the Legislature to unlawfully extend the state of emergency.
The Legislature voted to authorize legal action against the governor and last week took the unfortunate but necessary step of filing a lawsuit against her for violating state law and disregarding the Michigan Constitution.
The Legislature, along with folks from every corner of this state, placed their trust in the governor to lead Michigan through this pandemic. For weeks, the Legislature sought to cooperate with the governor in good faith, as it was generally agreed upon that preemptive actions were in the best interest of everyone as we navigated the unknown of COVID-19.
The governor’s actions and decision to go it alone stripped the legislative branch of its constitutional authority and subsequently silenced the voices of Michigan residents.