Gov. Milliken faced numerous situations that could be viewed as emergencies after 1970, but he would not invoke the EPGA again. In the spring of 1972 and again in 1973, rain and snowstorms created widespread flooding and the governor declared a state of emergency in the affected areas. But he did not use the EPGA, instead relying on authority provided by a different statute to deploy the Michigan National Guard for disaster relief. Gov. Milliken issued similar orders in response to other weather-related emergencies in the three years that followed.
This practice proved problematic, apparently. Legislation was introduced in 1975-76 legislative session that would create a new mechanism for dealing with emergencies. An analysis of that legislation described the problem:
Michigan's experience with 3 major disasters in the last 13 months has pointed up the inadequacy of the state's Civil Defense Act. The act has proven unwieldy to implement during disasters, largely because jurisdictional responsibility is not clearly defined. Further, the act, which became law in 1953, does not conform to current federal requirements which a state must meet in order to qualify for federal disaster assistance. While the state has been able to borrow federal funds during the recent disasters, it is unlikely that the ability to borrow would continue if Michigan's disaster legislation is not changed. For these reasons, legislation has been proposed based upon a model bill which has proven effective in other states and which complements federal disaster law.
It is worth noting that elected officials did not consider using the EPGA for these types of emergencies, nor did they consider amending it to deal with the inadequacies of the Civil Defense Act. In the minds of lawmakers at the time, the EPGA must have had some limited, defined use that made it ill-suited for the types of emergencies this new legislation meant to address.
The proposed legislation listed several disaster situations that could be result in emergency declarations and empower the governor, similar to the EPGA, to issue temporary orders that have the force of law. These included fires, floods, windstorms, oil spills, water or air contamination, blight, drought, infestations and epidemics. Riots and “other civil disturbances” were explicitly exempted, suggesting lawmakers meant to leave the handling of those situations to the EPGA.
In fact, that is exactly what the Michigan State Police argued in their analysis of the bill. The language exempting riots from the proposed bill was removed while in committee. The MSP advised the Legislature to keep this language, arguing “previous legislation is already in effect which mandates certain powers and responsibilities to police agencies in the event of riots, strikes, and unlawful assemblies.” MSP warned the proposed legislation “would be in conflict with the previous riot and civil disorder legislation.” The Legislature heeded this advice and reinserted this exemption for riots and civil disturbances.
Gov. Milliken signed into law on Dec. 30, 1976, what would become the Emergency Management Act of 1976. This law has been used regularly since its enactment: According to a 2019 report prepared by the Michigan State Police, Michigan governors declared 83 emergencies under the EMA from 1977 to 2019.
That same report claims the EPGA was used once over that period as well. Gov. James Blanchard supposedly declared an emergency under it in response to an ice storm in 1985. However, such a declaration does not appear in any of the executive orders the governor issued in 1985, and newspaper accounts say Gov. Blanchard declared the emergency under the EMA. It is possible, then, that the MPS report is incorrect, and Gov. Whitmer’s use of the EPGA is the first since 1970.
 “Executive Order 1972-10” (State of Michigan, Nov. 14, 1970), https://perma.cc/YQ7F-4ZQ5; “Executive Order 1973-5” (State of Michigan, March 17, 1973), https://perma.cc/5TLE-V9T8.
 “Executive Order 1974-9” (State of Michigan, Dec. 1, 1974), https://perma.cc/KP4N-XUEK; “Executive Order 1975-5” (State of Michigan, April 3, 1975), https://perma.cc/7H4Z-WUZC; “Executive Order 1976-1” (State of Michigan, March 3, 1976), https://perma.cc/X7RY-MJPG; “Executive Order 1976-10” (State of Michigan, Aug. 25, 1976), https://perma.cc/G28E-7RRE.
 “House Bill 5314: First Analysis” (State of Michigan, June 24, 1976), https://perma.cc/WE5F-TRQT.
 “House Bill No. 5314” (State of Michigan, June 5, 1975), https://perma.cc/26QZ-X7L3.
 George Halverson, “House Bill No. 5314” (Michigan Department of State Police, July 29, 1975), https://perma.cc/ RPT3-QL5K.
 “Public Acts 1976-No. 390” (State of Michigan, Dec. 30, 1976), https://perma.cc/WRM5-V85Y. Later, in 1990, the Legislature added “hazardous materials incident” to the EMA’s list of situations that could result in a declared emergency. The bill that made that happen also modified the language of the EMA to explicitly include riots and civil disturbances, exactly what the MSP warned against doing 15 years earlier. “Public Act 50 of 1990: (State of Michigan, April 6, 1990), https://perma.cc/F2TY-7ZPA.
 Michigan Hazard Analysis” (Michigan Department of State Police, April 2019), https://perma.cc/U9DT-VXUQ.
 “Blanchard Designates Ice Storm as Disaster” (Lansing State Journal, Jan. 16, 1985), https://perma.cc/YL3A-7ZDA.