The state Legislature on Tuesday approved a resolution to extend Michigan’s state of emergency through April 30.
“My office has received several calls and emails from residents concerned about the impact that a more-than-two-month shutdown will have on their livelihoods,” said Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “These are certainly challenging times, and everyone should continue to stay home and do their part, but considering how frequently the information surrounding the coronavirus outbreak is changing and the drastic impact it has already had on families, I don’t believe a 70-day extension is a reasonable starting point.”
The governor last week proposed the 70-day extension of Michigan’s emergency declaration. Lawmakers instead approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 24, which expands the governor’s expanded emergency and disaster declaration by 23 days through April 30 but allows the extension to be revisited based on new information.
The resolution does not require the governor’s signature to take effect.
“An extension of the governor’s emergency authority until the end of April is reasonable and coincides with the suggested federal guidelines. We need to be able to revisit Michigan’s state of emergency status on a regular basis to ensure all actions and guidelines are up to date with the ever-changing information,” Schmidt said. “State law requires the Legislature to approve an emergency declaration that lasts beyond the initial 28-day period, and my colleagues and I have a constitutional duty to protect public health. Today’s action was a reflection of both of those duties as your legislator.”
The Senate took particular care Tuesday to ensure the safety of all lawmakers and staff. During their time in the building, legislators maintained a distance of six feet between themselves and remained standing during session. Computers and voting buttons were not used, and before entering the Capitol, everyone was required to pass a health screening administered by the Michigan State Police with the assistance of medical professionals.
“I know the last few weeks have been especially hard on families and small businesses, and I join everyone in hoping our state is on a better track by the end of the month so we can begin a gradual return to our daily lives,” Schmidt said.