By N3 Editorial Team
The Michigan Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Governor Gretchen Whitmer lacked "the authority to declare a 'state of emergency' or a 'state of disaster' under the 1976 Emergency Management Act after April 30 and that the 1945 Emergency Powers of Governor Act is in violation of the Constitution because it "purports to delegate to the executive branch the legislative powers of state government."
The Gov responded by delivering a strong response to the decision stating, “Today’s Supreme Court ruling, handed down by a narrow majority of Republican justices, is deeply disappointing, and I vehemently disagree with the court’s interpretation of the Michigan Constitution. Right now, every state and the federal government have some form of declared emergency. With this decision, Michigan will become the sole outlier at a time when the Upper Peninsula is experiencing rates of COVID infection not seen in our state since April. “
Just hours before the ruling, the Gov had ordered tighter restrictions on public activity in the Upper Peninsula citing information that showed the U.P. has "the most concerning numbers in the state" after cases started "sharply increasing" after mid-September, and said the region has 283 absolute cases per million and a 5.1 percent positivity rate for COVID-19 cases.
The statewide positivity rate is 3.06%
Governor Whitmer also stated she has another 3 weeks before the ruling will take effect but that looks to be up for dispute. She also indicated the use of “alternative sources of authority” who will continue the measures put into place to control the spread of the virus, though not specifying what those sources might be.
So now what?
If the 21 day extension holds up what happens on October 23rd?
Do the orders that limit bars and restaurants to a restricted amount of customers go away?
Will high school athletes be chucking aside their masks and soon be playing in front of crowds larger than the current sparse number of attendees?
And how about masks? While some still find it a rather peculiar badge of honor to enter places maskless most have accepted the science indicating the efficacy of this practice.
Will this change? Will servers begin to come to the table with unhidden smiles? Will stores toss aside the notices requiring masks for entrance leading to more maskless shoppers? Will gyms and theaters operate as if we are pre or post pandemic?
And what will the results be?
There are a multitude of opinions on this whole scene.
Some peeps don’t believe the efforts that have been instituted are valid and some don’t believe in the virus itself which seems to others a bit like not believing in icebergs when you’re sailing on the Titanic.
There are even folks who somehow believe it’s a hoax that will go away after election day and while we’re willing to concede the power of the vote, the knocking out of a deadly virus isn’t likely within the realm of that power.
But if restrictions go away and cases spike, then what?
Can we trust our two political parties in the legislature and the Governor's office to come to an agreement when action needs to be taken?
Or will they fumble along with partisan posturing and opposition accusations as our solons can be prone to do in these divisive (and election year) times?
Stay tuned. The ride will undoubtedly be a rough one.
But in this most bizarre of all years…
Rough rides are truly the ‘new normal’.
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