The House Oversight Committee today considered a plan state Rep. Timmy Beson helped introduce to keep state government accountable to Michigan citizens when emergency powers are exercised.
Beson, R-Bangor Township, sponsored House Bill 6209, which is part of a broader plan to strengthen public accountability for powers used by the governor and state agencies to address emergencies — often when the health or safety of residents is at risk. The overall plan sets in place new guidelines for emergency powers, focusing on transparency, time limits unless lawmakers extend a power, and the repeal of redundant laws and unnecessary powers.
HB 6209 would require state officials to notify the Legislature within 24 hours of issuing an emergency order to protect health and safety at a licensed dry cleaner. Beson pointed out the unintended effects emergency powers can have on local businesses.
“Emergency powers have to be used the right way,” Beson said. “We need to keep people safe and healthy, but we don’t want to hurt working people and small businesses at the same time. That’s why emergency powers need oversight by legislators — so all the people’s needs are kept in mind.”
Overall, the 31-bill package would increase accountability by:
- Setting reasonable timeframes: Some bills within the package would provide a specific role for elected legislators in the exercise of certain emergency powers, by ending the use of authority after 28 days, requiring the Michigan Legislature to decide whether circumstances warrant an extension of the power in a particular instance.
- Ensuring transparency: In order to ensure lawmakers overseeing state departments are aware of the use of emergency authority, Beson’s HB 6209 and other bills would simply require the executive branch to notify the Legislature in a timely manner — typically 24 hours — after some powers.
- Cleaning up the law: Additional bills in the package would repeal unnecessary or outdated emergency powers, some of which have rarely or never been used. Other statutes to be repealed are redundant, granting power also authorized elsewhere in Michigan law.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 plan, contained in HBs 6184-6214, remains under consideration by the committee.
State Rep. Timmy Beson, R-Bangor Township, today issued the following statement after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on the federal government to pause the federal gas tax despite her past veto of a state gas tax pause: