The State Board of Canvassers certified the Unlock Michigan petition that seeks to repeal a law that gave Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers.
The story: The board vote unanimously to certify the petition this week, which would give lawmakers the ability to wipe the law from the books entirely.
The petition, which gathered 538,345 signatures and far exceeded the minimum of 340,000 required signatures, aims to revoke the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act passed in 1945, which Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used to issue orders and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic for the majority of last year. Lawmakers took issue with how Whitmer handled the pandemic and argued that she should have worked with them in introducing the measures.
The petition now heads to the Republican-led Legislature which is expected to vote to repeal the law.
What they’re saying: “Seeing as opponents have finally run out of absurd challenges, we will take it up as soon as Secretary [Jocelyn] Benson sends,” said Abby Walls, a spokeswoman of Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake.
“We’re looking forward to the next and final step on this long road: passage by the Michigan House and Senate of our initiative to repeal this law so abused by Governor Whitmer,” said Fred Wzsolek, a spokesperson for Unlock Michigan, MLive.com reports.
How we got here: Democratic members on Board of State Canvassers refused to certify the ballot measure despite the petition having enough signatures. The issue was taken to court and the Supreme Court in the state ordered the state election board to certify the initiative.
The justices argued that the four-member panel “has a clear legal duty to certify the petition.”
Worth noting: Democrats had raised questions about the process of gathering signatures for the petition. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the signatures were valid and Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office branded the effort “sleazy” but said it was legal.
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