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UPDATE: LaFave’s impeachment resolution won’t advance, GOP speaker says

State Rep. Beau LaFave, R-Iron Mountain, introduced a resolution calling for articles of impeachment against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because of her COVID-19 actions.
Republican State. Rep. Beau Lafave, of Iron Mountain, and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Republican State. Rep. Beau Lafave, of Iron Mountain, and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.(WLUC/LaFave/Whitmer)
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 5:57 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC & AP) - UPDATE: November 18, 10:40 p.m.

Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield says he has no plans to advance the resolution. The Republican says it’s a distraction from what needs to be done in the state.

Chatfield said an effort to impeach Whitmer would lack merit and would be every bit as “shameful” as the impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump.

UPDATE: November 18, 6:30 p.m.

Governor Whitmer’s office has issued the following response:

“Governor Whitmer doesn’t have any time for partisan politics or people who don’t wear masks, don’t believe in science, and don’t have a plan to fight this virus. Right now, she is focused on saving lives. The governor will continue to work hard for all 10 million Michiganders. This is about Michigan vs. COVID-19. Governor Whitmer doesn’t care if you’re a Trump Republican or a Biden Democrat. We are all in this together.”

State Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain), Wednesday introduced House Resolution 324 calling for the adoption of four articles of impeachment against Gov. Gretchen E. Whitmer, citing corrupt conduct and violating her oath of office.

LaFave said he felt compelled to introduce the measure after several months of the governor exceeding her constitutional authority, violating the constitutional rights of the people of Michigan, issuing orders that are not in the best interest of the state, and using the pandemic as an opportunity for political posturing.

LaFave says exhausted every option at his disposal and said he has no other recourse than to exercise his constitutionally authorized power of impeachment.

“Over the course of eight months, I have watched powerlessly as the governor has used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to trample over the constitutional rights of Upper Peninsula families and the great people of Michigan,” LaFave said. “For eight months, the governor has set out on a quest of corruption; exceeding her constitutional duties, disregarding the separation of powers, ignoring the spirit of the Supreme Court ruling, weaponizing the state’s health department, and rewarding political allies.

“People are hurting, and it seems as though statewide petitions and costly lawsuits are not sending a strong enough message to the executive office. As pleas of Michigan residents continue to be overlooked and the Legislature remains excluded from the equation, I am left with no other recourse than to exercise my constitutional authority by invoking articles of impeachment against the governor. This is absolutely the last thing I want to do, but I would be betraying my conscience and oath of office to defend the Michigan Constitution by ignoring such blatant misconduct.”

The coronavirus making its way into Michigan in March 2020 prompted the governor, Legislature and other state and local officials to take swift action to limit the proliferation of the virus. LaFave said progress was made initially due to a partnership between the governor and Legislature, but that the partnership was short-lived after the governor decided she could do a better job on her own.

The following is a timeline of events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, according to Rep. LaFave:

March 2020: State announces first confirmed COVID-19 cases; Gov. Whitmer issues State of Emergency, stay-at-home order, orders multiple business sectors to close; limits on social gatherings and congregations are installed; elective, non-emergency medical surgeries are put on hold; Legislature approves $150 million in COVID-19 relief; woes arise within state’s unemployment agency.

April 2020: Gov. Whitmer asks Legislature to extend state-of-emergency; Legislature extends state-of-emergency; Gov. Whitmer extends stay-at-home order; issues dangerous, controversial nursing home order against the advice of health organizations; shuts down in-person learning at K-12 schools; approves state resources for firm with democratic ties to conduct contact tracing and gain access to private health care information of Michigan residents.

May 2020: Gov. Whitmer extends state of emergency without legislative approval; extends stay-at-home order; continues to issue executive orders unilaterally; Legislature files lawsuit.

June 2020: Gov. Whitmer extends state of emergency without legislative approval; continues to issue executive orders unilaterally; stay-at-home order ends.

July - September 2020: Gov. Whitmer extends state of emergency without legislative approval; continues to issue executive orders unilaterally; Unlock Michigan, a citizens-initiated referendum to limit the governor’s power, starts up, collecting over 500,000 signatures.

October 2020: Michigan Supreme Court rules that the law Gov. Whitmer was using to issue executive orders was unconstitutional; Nearly 200 COVID-19 executive orders immediately end; Legislature acts swiftly to codify certain executive orders into law to protect Michigan residents; Gov. Whitmer utilizes state health department to circumvent Supreme Court and the Legislature.

November 2020: Gov. Whitmer directs state health department to prohibit in-person learning at high schools and colleges, shut down restaurants, limit gatherings in private residences, and criminalize office work if it can be done from home; threatens further restrictions.

“Let me be clear. The actions I’m taking aren’t because this virus isn’t real,” LaFave said. “The surge in COVID-19 cases is something we should take seriously. It’s incredibly important for everyone to listen to the advice of doctors and take personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus. We should all do our part by choosing to wash our hands frequently, wear a mask, and practice social distancing.

“I introduced this resolution because the people of Michigan – through their duly elected representatives – deserve a seat at the table when major decisions that impact their lives are made. My colleagues and I are not looking to throw away all of the governor’s ideas or replace them with our own; we’re simply asking to collaborate, provide input on behalf of our constituents and receive shareable information to increase communication throughout our communities. Michigan residents are better served when their leaders are working together. That’s why the governor’s unilateral and unconstitutional approach must come to an end.”

According to LaFave’s resolution, the four articles of impeachment against Gov. Whitmer include failing to respect the separation of powers by exercising power granted to the legislative branch, violating the constitutional rights of the people of Michigan, issuing executive orders against the interests of the people and state, and using state resources to reward political allies.

House Resolution 324 has been referred to the House Government Operations Committee for consideration.

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