Runestad issues statement after Senate OKs measures to limit governor’s power

‘Government works best when the governor and Legislature work together’

LANSING, Mich. — After the Senate on Friday passed Senate Bills 857 and 858 to provide Michiganders a check against the governor’s power during an emergency and the governor announced a new executive order, Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, issued the following statement:

“We all know how serious this virus is and how important it is that our entire government take it earnestly.

“What we have learned to date is that government works best when the governor and Legislature work together for the good of the state.

“The governor is issuing executive orders to fight coronavirus under two acts — one from 1945 that gives her unchecked power and another from 1976 that still provides broad authority but requires the Legislature to approve the use of those powers beyond 28 days.

“Operating with only minimal consultation with the Legislature has left some of the governor’s policies unexplainable and has frustrated the people she is trying to protect. That is why I have been advocating for a focus on performing our jobs safely and have suggested a handful of common-sense changes to get greater compliance and support by the public at large.

“Thankfully, the governor has responded to these requests and today took several steps in the right direction to create more common-sense policies to stop the spread of coronavirus and protect our most vulnerable residents.

“The governor conceded to allow landscapers, pesticide applicators and other outdoor workers who routinely practice social distancing to get back to work. She acknowledged our calls for trusting business to operate safely by allowing retailers to sell goods for curbside pickup and delivery previously categorized as nonessential. She also has opened up greater access to outdoor recreation.

“I am encouraged by these steps, but I would still prefer to see broader reengagement of the economy under the new normal of social distancing and cleanliness standards rather than outlining which specific practices are permitted or not by the governor.

“Today, I voted to make common-sense changes to the emergency powers laws the governor is using to fight the coronavirus. These changes allow the Legislature to have a continued role in state government’s response to emergencies.

“At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for our state and to keep our communities and families as safe as possible as we transition safely out of this pandemic and put in practice lessons to better improve our response to any future emergency.”