News Bite

Two Day 1943 Riot Inspired Law Authorizing 159-Days-And-Counting State Of Emergency

In June of 1943 there was a race riot in Detroit in which an estimated 1,800 people were arrested and 34 people were killed.

The riot lasted two days – June 21 and June 22.

In 1945 Michigan legislators passed a bill that newspaper accounts referred to as “the riot bill.” It was intended to give future governors greater powers to deal with such incidents.

The “riot bill” became The Emergency Powers of the Governor Act when it was signed into law as Public Act 302 of 1945.

This is the law on which current Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rests her authority to keep the state under a state of emergency of indefinite length, and govern unilaterally through enforceable executive orders.

On March 10, Whitmer declared that Michigan and its residents were under a state of emergency.

They have been under a state of emergency for 159 days as of Aug. 16.

The 1945 law does not set a time limit on how long a governor can order the state to be kept under a state of emergency.

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.