State Rep. Andrew Beeler and the Michigan House of Representatives today approved Rep. Beeler’s legislation to make state government work for the people by improving oversight and accountability measures for the governor’s emergency powers.
Beeler, R-Port Huron, helped sponsor a 30-bill plan to ensure accountability for broad authority used by the governor and state agencies to address emergencies. The plan would set timeframes, strengthen oversight by the Legislature, eliminate redundant laws, and remove unnecessary powers.
“The state government works for the people of Michigan, so in good times or emergencies, accountability is vital to a functioning republic,” Beeler said. “State legislators are closest to the people we serve. We care deeply for our communities because we live and work in them. Elected representatives address citizens’ concerns through legislation — and through oversight. Our plan will bolster legislative review over emergency powers, ensuring that government officials don’t avoid accountability.”
The plan would increase accountability by:
- Ensuring transparency: In order to ensure lawmakers overseeing state departments are aware of the use of emergency authority, other bills would simply require the executive branch to notify the Legislature in a timely manner — typically 24 hours — after some powers are exercised. Beeler’s House Bill 6207 would require officials to notify the Legislature within 24 hours of issuing an emergency order instructing a mine to suspend operations or take other corrective action to protect the public health, safety, welfare, or the environment.
- Setting reasonable timeframes: Some bills within the package would provide a specific role for elected legislators in the exercise of emergency powers, by ending the application of certain authority after 28 days, requiring the Michigan Legislature to decide whether to extend the power in that instance.
- Cleaning up the law: Additional bills in the package would repeal unnecessary or outdated emergency powers, some of which have rarely or never been used. Other statutes to be repealed are redundant, granting power also authorized elsewhere in Michigan law.
The bills now proceed to the Senate for consideration, where other parts of the plan that passed the House this summer are already under review.
“The budget process is out of control. We are spending more and more money and are giving people less and less transparency. This is exactly why people do not trust government,” said Beeler, R-Port Huron.