The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Lansing, one of the state’s leading small business organizations, announced that it supports the “Unlock Michigan 2” ballot initiative that would limit epidemic emergency orders through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
The initiative would limit the MDHHS ability to implement emergency orders to 28 days without legislative approval. It would also limit local health department epidemic orders to 28 days unless approved by the appropriate local governing authority.
“Since the state Supreme Court ruled the governor’s use of the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945 unconstitutional, the governor has been issuing pandemic emergency orders through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to shut down the state and place restrictions on small business,” says Charlie Owens, state director of the NFIB.
“Now that the first Unlock Michigan ballot initiative has repealed the Emergency Powers of Governor Act of 1945, it is time to take the next step and fully restore the balance of power in our state by ending unchecked use of these health department epidemic orders.”
With enough signatures and verification from the Bureau of Elections, the legislature can approve the citizen’s initiative with a simple majority vote without the governor’s approval, says Owens. He added that the governor would still have the necessary powers to declare an emergency under the 1976 Emergency Management Act, but that law would also require approval from the legislature every 28 days to extend a “state of emergency.”
NFIB small business owners were asked if they support legislation — 92 percent of members said yes, 5 percent said no, and 3 percent were undecided. The survey for the first “Unlock Michigan” bill saw 74 percent of members say yes, 16 percent say no, and 10 percent answer undecided.
“We look forward to working with NFIB and their small business members to get the signatures necessary to get this proposal before the legislature where it can be approved without needing the signature of the governor,” says Fred Wszolek, an Unlock Michigan spokesperson. “We’re thrilled to have NFIB and its members on our side as we collect the signatures required to restore checks and balances to Michigan government.”