DETROIT (AP/WLUC) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has prevailed in a high-stakes challenge from Republican lawmakers who sued over her authority to declare emergencies and order sweeping restrictions during the coronavirus outbreak.
A judge said a 1945 law cited by Whitmer, a Democrat, is not limited to local and regional emergencies only.
The House and Senate, which are controlled by Republicans, did not extend Whitmer's disaster emergency declaration in late April, but she acted anyway.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday further relaxed stay-at-home restrictions, saying a ban on nonessential health procedures would be lifted next week and that groups of up to 10 people can gather immediately ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.
Retailers can reopen by appointment only, starting Tuesday, as long as there are no more than 10 customers inside at a time. People also can make an appointment to visit an auto dealer showroom. Social distancing requirements remain in place.
Gov. Whitmer's office release the following statement on the ruling.
"Today’s decision recognizes that the governor’s actions to save lives are lawful and her orders remain in place. She will continue to do what she’s always done: take careful, decisive actions to protect Michiganders from this unprecedented, global pandemic. We owe it to our front line heroes who have been putting their lives on the line to pull together as a state and work as one team to stop the spread of this virus."
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said, “We’re still reviewing the opinion but I’m pleased that the Court acted quickly to clarify legal issues of significant importance to the people of this State. With this clarity, it’s my hope that our public officials and residents can move forward with confidence that the Governor has acted in accordance with the authority provided to her under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act. It’s time for us all to focus on the health and safety of the People in this State rather than fighting against each other in unnecessary legal battles in our courts.”
TV6 & FOX UP will follow this story as it progresses.