Rep. Matt Hall, chair of the House Oversight Committee, today said he will support extending Gov. Whitmer’s emergency powers and declaration of a state of emergency in Michigan for another few weeks – but he does not favor extending the emergency declaration all the way into mid-June as she has requested.
The Legislature on Tuesday is expected to consider a concurrent resolution extending the governor’s declaration of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic until May 1, which Hall noted is consistent with President Trump’s date for maintaining social distancing guidelines nationwide. Hall said he and the Legislature would re-evaluate the situation at that time to determine if another extension of emergency rules is needed in Michigan.
“Saving lives and keeping people healthy is our top priority, and that’s why I am willing to extend the governor’s emergency declaration — but giving her blanket authority to run the state until mid-June with no oversight or accountability is not something I can support at this time,” said Hall, of Marshall. “A 70-day extension is too long in a situation that has been unpredictable since Day One. And the people of Michigan need some answers first.
“When will the hundreds of thousands of Michigan workers who have lost their jobs due to the governor’s executive orders and this coronavirus crisis get the help they need? The call center and website for filing unemployment benefits is failing them when they need it most, and it must be fixed. Why are some businesses forced to remain closed when they could safely be open and follow social distancing guidelines? What is the long-term plan to help workers and small businesses get back on their feet? Why is every part of the state under the same strict orders when the COVID-19 situation is not the same in every county? When will there be more transparency on hospital and testing capacity? People need more answers before being asked to potentially spend another 10 weeks shut in at home. The reasonable and responsible approach is to extend the state of emergency for a few weeks and adjust from there if it’s still necessary.”
Hall said he is ready to continue working with Gov. Whitmer to help Michigan through this crisis. He has already supported $150 million in state funding to improve Michigan’s response to the pandemic, pushed for the governor to more quickly file paperwork needed to gain federal assistance, and helped clarify rules related to vehicle sales during the coronavirus crisis.