Rep. Shane Hernandez of Port Huron today voted for a plan to end the governor’s unilateral control during the COVID-19 response and restore the balance of powers between the branches of Michigan’s state government.
Hernandez said he and other members of the Legislature have heard countless complaints about many of the governor’s decisions in the past month – all made without input from the Legislature, the elected representatives of the people.
“We are not trying to end the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are simply trying to ensure the state’s response includes representatives of Michigan taxpayers and families,” said Hernandez, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “The people demand and deserve a seat at the table when decisions are made that dramatically affect their health and livelihoods. That representation comes through the Legislature.
“The governor forced our actions today by refusing to work with the Legislature and going out of her way to publicly end potentially productive discussions aimed at helping Michigan overcome COVID-19 and reopen the economy. She forced this action by failing to fix the state’s broken unemployment filing system, and by refusing to answer questions about why she is making certain decisions – such as why some workers can’t return to their jobs even though they could do so safely. It is my hope she will put partisanship and politics aside and begin to work with us in a collaborative, constructive way.”
To ensure measures remain in place to protect public health and help families who have been hurt by the economic impact of the virus, the House took action to put some of the governor’s previous orders into state law with specific expiration dates. This includes preventing employers from taking disciplinary action against any employee who elects to stay home from work because of COVID-19, expanded unemployment benefits and eligibility requirements, measures to prevent price gouging, and many others.
Restrictions on public gatherings would remain in place, but the governor’s stay home order would expire.
Hernandez sponsored a resolution authorizing the Speaker of the House to take legal action on behalf of the House to challenge the governor’s authority and actions during the COVID-19 response, if necessary.
“The governor was elected to work with other branches of government in the best interests of Michigan,” Hernandez said. “She was not elected to make decisions without checks and balances.”
Submitted by Tim Martin