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State Rep. Sarah Lightner gives a speech urging her colleagues in the House to support the adoption of the citizen-driven Unlock Michigan initiative.

Rep. Lightner votes to approve Unlock Michigan initiative
RELEASE|July 21, 2021

Action strikes unconstitutional law abused by governor during pandemic

State Rep. Sarah Lightner and the Michigan House today approved the Unlock Michigan citizens’ initiative to repeal the unconstitutional state law Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used to hold unilateral power over the people of Michigan during the early portion of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The people of Michigan and the Supreme Court have spoken, and I am listening. This was an unconstitutional law that didn’t have a place on our books,” Lightner said. “The people of Michigan deserve a government with leaders who listen to residents and work together to solve problems. I’m making it a priority to make sure our state is never again in a position where one person can grab power and make unilateral decisions for an indefinite amount of time.”

During the pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act (EPGA) as justification to indefinitely extend Michigan’s state of emergency and the executive powers she used to issue heavy-handed orders. The Michigan Supreme Court declared the EPGA unconstitutional last October and the Legislature voted in December to remove the unconstitutional law from the books. However, Gov. Whitmer vetoed the measure.

Even before the Supreme Court decision was issued, concerned citizens started the Unlock Michigan petition to repeal the EPGA, submitting more than half a million signatures in October. After several delays, the initiative finally reached the Legislature this month.

Today’s vote in the House had bipartisan support.

“This isn’t a partisan issue,” Lightner said. “Removing an unconstitutional law from the books is the right thing to do to make sure there’s no unnecessary confusion in the future.”

Now that both the House and Senate have approved the measure, the law will be repealed.

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