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Whitmer bristles at Republican threats to hold up measures until restaurants reopen

Midland senator calls for a halt on approving governor’s appointments to state boards and commissions
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hold a press conference on COVID-19 in Michigan.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hold a press conference on COVID-19 in Michigan.(source: State of Michigan)
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 1:32 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Republicans are calling for a halt on approving appointments from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer until restaurants in Michigan are allowed to reopen for indoor dining.

Whitmer called the threat “really dangerous and it’s really irresponsible” during a press conference on Wednesday.

State Sen. Jim Stamas, a Republican from Midland, is pushing for the Legislature to stop approving Whitmer’s appointments to various boards and commissions in state government. Many of those appointments require an OK from the State Senate’s Advice and Consent Committee.

“The governor is continuing punitive lockdowns and jeopardizing lives and livelihoods — while state government has largely been unaffected,” Stamas said. “People have suggested that the governor and her department heads not get paid until they allow restaurants and other family businesses to reopen and their workers to earn their paychecks.”

He pointed out that Michigan is one of very few states still prohibiting indoor dining at restaurants and he doesn’t see a clear path for them to reopen.

“As long as the governor rejects the importance of thousands of restaurants and small businesses she continues to shut down, then we should reject her appointments,” Stamas said. “My goal with this proposal is to bring the governor to the table on COVID-19 issues and understand that the Legislature plays an important role in our representative government.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced an update to its epidemic order on Wednesday. Effective Friday, indoor exercise classes and non-contact sports can resume, but dine-in service at restaurants must remain closed until at least Feb. 1.

“Well, I am surprised and I think it’s really unfortunate that the Legislature -- that there are members of the Legislature -- who want to resort to threats to open up restaurants,” Whitmer said.

She hopes the Republican-controlled Legislature doesn’t follow through on holding up appointments or any legislation based on COVID-19 restrictions from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“Anyone who’s been paying attention knows we’re gonna stay focused on the science and the data or make decisions that are the best public health of the people of this state, and threats don’t change that. It just actually makes it more dangerous for all of us when they politicize this so badly,” Whitmer said.

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