Michigan Supreme Court denies Whitmer’s request for extension of coronavirus orders

The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether employees making assault allegations against...
The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether employees making assault allegations against their employers can be forced to go through private arbitration rather than file a lawsuit in open court.(WJRT)
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 4:01 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - All of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus orders issued after April 30 have been thrown out.

The Michigan Supreme Court issued an order Monday that denies Whitmer’s request to extend her orders until Oct. 30. Justices ruled 4-3 that the orders issued under the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act “are of no continuing legal effect.”

The Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 2 that the 1945 law is unconstitutional in Michigan because it improperly delegates legislative authority to the executive branch of government. Justice wrote in their ruling Monday that they hope Whitmer’s administration can work cooperatively with the Republican-led Michigan Legislature.

Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also argued after the Oct. 2 ruling that Whitmer’s orders would remain in effect for 21 days. However, the Supreme Court pointed that a 21-day waiting period only applies to mandates but a different type of ruling was issued on Oct. 2, which doesn’t fall under that provision.

Whitmer initially declared a coronavirus State of Emergency for Michigan in early March and began issuing orders to prevent the illness from spreading, including a mandated shutdown for many businesses and requirements to avoid large gatherings.

The Legislature approved an extension of the State Emergency and allowed Whitmer to continue making unilateral orders until April 30. However, legislators denied another extension after that date, so Whitmer continued issue orders under the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act.

The Michigan Supreme Court threw out that law in their Oct. 2 ruling, which brought many of Whitmer’s orders to an end.

However, several coronavirus orders remain in effect despite the Supreme Court’s latest ruling. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services used the Public Health Code of 1978 last week to reissue orders requiring face coverings, gathering limits, nursing home safety measures and more.

The orders issued last week by the Department of Health and Human Services are not affected by either of the Supreme Court rulings and remain in effect. Here is a list of reissued coronavirus orders still in effect across Michigan:

The two top Republican leaders in the Legislature have signaled willingness to work with Whitmer’s administration on Michigan’s coronavirus response on safety measures.

The Michigan Senate returned to session last Thursday to begin considering bills that would extend some of Whitmer’s orders as laws. Senators approved Whitmer’s unemployment extension on their first day back.

The Michigan House plans to return this week to consider bills approved in the Senate before sending them to Whitmer’s desk for her signature.

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