A recently introduced package of 31 bills would help provide accountability and consistency to a variety of emergency powers laws. If enacted, these bills would increase transparency and legislative oversight of state departments’ emergency powers. These bills would also eliminate some redundancies and remove unnecessary powers currently found in statutes. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s research led to these bills.
Below is a statement from Michael Van Beek, the director of research at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Van Beek will testify in front of the Michigan House Oversight Committee this afternoon.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, few people knew just how powerful the administrative state had become. We’ve seen laws be misinterpreted and used to seize unchecked control, such as the 1945 law that Gov. Whitmer used to assume unilateral control of our state after the Legislature decided not to extend her emergency authority under the proper statute. Some of these bills look at powers in place that have never been used, but could one day be abused.
In the event of emergencies, the executive branch would still have the same powers that have existed since 1976 through the Emergency Management Act. These bills address individual instances of emergency actions currently available to the state department or the governor. Some of the bills in this package would remove antiquated laws that are no longer relevant but could be misinterpreted or abused.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
Please consider contributing to our work to advance a freer and more prosperous state.