State Rep. Triston Cole joined his colleagues in extending Michigan’s state of emergency designation related to the coronavirus pandemic until May 1.
Cole, of Mancelona, said he favored the plan over the 70-day extension proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which would have extended her emergency powers into mid-June.
“The governor jumped ahead and asked for an obscene power grab without addressing the real immediate concerns brought forth by the Legislature,” Cole said. “We’re taking a more responsible approach by extending the emergency declaration until May 1, at which point the situation can be reassessed, and we can further extend the state of emergency if it’s necessary.”
In the meantime, the governor and her administration must do more to help workers and families struggling during mandated business closings and the stay-at-home order, Cole said. Fixing the state’s broken unemployment filing system is high on that list. So is revising emergency rules so businesses that could operate safely within social distancing guidelines are allowed to resume work.
Cole sent a letter to the governor on March 30 requesting her to consider allowing some construction and landscape businesses to operate, and he has yet to receive a response.
“The governor continues to issue threats without clearly defining all of the businesses affected, and she has so far refused to allow any flexibility for ‘non-essential’ businesses – even when it is possible for workers to completely comply with social distancing guidelines,” Cole said. “Thousands of taxpaying Michiganders work in sectors that can and should be allowed to continue operating while taking responsible measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.”
For example, Cole said lawn care workers do not typically interact much with others, and real estate transactions and car sales could take place electronically or by appointment to limit contact.
Rep. Cole and his staff are working remotely, so they can continue to serve residents during the COVID-19 outbreak. People with questions or concerns can reach his office by calling (517) 373-0829 or emailing TristonCole@house.mi.gov.