News Bite

Law Whitmer Cites For Unilateral Emergency Powers Used Just Once Before In 43 Years

Other governors have used less undemocratic 1976 emergency law dozens of times

The 1945 law that grants Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the power to govern unilaterally by means of enforceable executive orders has been used just one other time in the last 43 years.

Called the Emergency Power Of Governor Act, Public Act 302 of 1945 was last exercised in 1985, according to a Michigan State Police analysis of emergency laws.

In 1985, then-Gov. James Blanchard declared an official state of emergency for 13 counties following a January ice storm.

The 1945 law contains no limit on how long a governor can keep a state of emergency in effect.

In 1976 the Legislature passed a new Emergency Management Act (1976 PA 390) that limits the duration of a declared emergency to 28 days unless legislators agree to an extension. Governors have used powers under this law 83 times since 1977, according to the Michigan State Police analysis.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.