Protesters Pack Capitol Building As Legislature Ends State of Emergency
It was an eventful day in Lansing as the State Legislature decided to let the State of Emergency expire while hundreds of protesters filled the Capitol lawn and building.
The rain may have scared off some but there was still a major protest at the Capitol, each person voicing their disdain for Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders and calling for the legislature to put an end to them.
“Uphold your oath to the Michigan Constitution, the United States Constitution,” says Nathan Silva, protester from Muskegon, “Let us go back to work. Where I’m from I’d say about eight out of 10 people are out of work right now in Muskegon County. It’s tough. People are hurting right now.”
“We have three branches of government and they all have their role,” says Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, “Even during a pandemic.”
The House spent the afternoon passing several resolutions and bills to restrict Governor Whitmer’s executive powers.
“We did codified the executive orders that we believe are important right now and need to move forward,” says Speaker Chatfield, “So the people of our state can stay protected.”
Things like protections for frontline workers will stay in effect but they did not even vote to extend the State of Emergency, which now expires at midnight.
“We extended our hand to partner with her but we also authorized myself to take action on behalf of the House to take this to court should the governor overstep her constitutional limits,” says Chatfield.
Any executive order put in place after Thursday, will be grounds for the legislature to sue.
“Nobody wants to go to court,” says Chatfield, “But at some point, we’re willing to do it if she overstepped her statutory constitutional limits.”
“Moving forward we believe that we need to partner with the governor and ensure that everything everyone in our state needs, is done through a partnership,” says Chatfield, “The legislature did not approve that extension today.”
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey reiterated that as the State of Emergency ends at midnight, the Stay at Home order does not. That is still in effect until May 15th.
As for the protest, organizers called it the ‘American Patriot Rally’ and asked protesters to stay away from the gridlock strategy of the protest two weeks ago.
Much like that last protest, it was fairly peaceful. Michigan State police only reporting one arrest, involving a protester attacking another without any injuries.
Traffic was always free flowing with more police directing traffic this time.