Midland Lawmakers Vote to Extend Pandemic Emergency Declaration

By Mitchell Kukulka | Mitchell.Kukulka@mdn.net |Posted Apr 7, 2020

On Tuesday, the Republican-led Michigan Legislature voted to lengthen Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus emergency declaration by 23 days — through the end of April.

Whitmer had originally sought to adopt a 70-day extension which would last into mid-June.

Midland Republicans Sen. Jim Stamas and Rep. Annette Glenn both supported shortened extension, believing a 23-day extension is more practical than 70 more days of emergency management ordered by the governor without input and oversight from the Legislature.

“Acting in the best interests of the people of Bay and Midland counties, I believe we should evaluate new information as it becomes available to us, much sooner and more frequently than the over two months from now that the governor proposed,” Glenn stated.

Stamas told the Daily News he thought the governor’s decision on 70 days was substantially too long.

“But at the same time, I want to recognize the public health concerns that are currently out there, and the daily changes within the information we receive,” Stamas said. “I think 23 days is time enough to give (Whitmer the) authority to make these decisions, and we can reevaluate it at the end of the month if it needs to go longer.”

Mask-wearing lawmakers approved the shortened extension by voice vote after undergoing screening procedures to enter the Senate and House chambers. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, who presides over the Senate, wore an “Everybody Vs COVID-19” shirt.

The Legislature implemented screening and distancing procedures to limit legislators from potential exposure. Two lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, while a third has died of suspected COVID-19.