Michigan lawmakers extend state of emergency to April 30

LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature Tuesday approved a resolution to extend Michigan’s state of emergency through April 30.

The governor last week asked for a 70-day extension of Michigan’s emergency declaration, but legislators in the Senate and House determined that was too long.

“The extraordinary steps we have taken across the state to fight this pandemic — staying home, temporarily closing nonessential businesses, social distancing — are working,” said Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington. “But extending the emergency order by 70 days, to June 10, is unnecessary at this time.

“As we have all been saying, the situation surrounding COVID-19 remains fluid; extending the state of emergency that far out doesn’t take this aspect of the pandemic into account. We can revisit the situation as April 30 nears to see if we need to extend it again.”

On Friday, VanderWall issued a statement opposing the governor’s call for an extension.

The Senate took particular care Tuesday to ensure the safety of lawmakers and staff, and the brief session was remarkable in many ways: The number of staff members in the chamber totalled a handful; legislators maintained a distance of six feet between themselves and remained standing during session; computers and voting buttons were not used; and before entering the Capitol, everyone was required to pass a health screening administered by the Michigan State Police with the assistance of medical professionals.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 24 does not require the governor’s signature; the governor’s expanded emergency and disaster declaration will run through April 30.

For information about COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus. The state has also launched a hotline about COVID-19. Residents with any questions about the virus can call 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.