LANSING – If the Legislature isn’t going to put some type of mask mandate into state law, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said last week she believes the rest of the legislative year should be a “lame lame duck.”
Whitmer told reporters that lawmakers had eight months during which to pass legislation that would codify her executive orders or otherwise work with her on measures designed to control the spread of the coronavirus but “they haven’t done anything.”
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said he expects a “lame” lame duck, although he said legislators “must be disciplined to work primarily on needs and not wants.”
At a recent quadrant meeting, legislative leaders dismissed the codification of a mask mandate and offered nothing in response other than running some public service announcements, Whitmer told reporters Monday. Meanwhile, she noted that legislators are continuing to contract COVID-19 while running around the Capitol unmasked or holding election result parties.
“So, when I see the criticisms it doesn’t seem particularly serious because they haven’t done anything and offered up anything,” Whitmer told reporters. “They have recklessly endangered their colleagues and all of you . . . It’s outrageous and dangerous and unserious. When they tweet from hunting break, it’s hard to take seriously.”
House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) issued a statement Sunday evening that the Legislature led the way with a comprehensive plan to address the crisis in the spring, but it was ignored. It also developed a school reopening plan that, too, was ignored.
“That is on top of billions of dollars in funding, critical reforms to nursing home policies and protections for healthcare staff, unemployed workers and small-business owners,” Chatfield said. “The people of Michigan deserve a seat at the table when major decisions like these are made, and those decisions are made better and safer when they do.”
Sen. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton) also issued a statement Sunday evening that the Governor is refusing to partner with the Legislature, sharing her COVID-19 prevention plans with “lobbyists before talking with the elected representatives.”
But Whitmer said legislative leaders have been included in modeling calls with public health experts and the state Treasurer’s office. They’ve also taken advantage of an opportunity to talk one-on-one with these individuals.
“They’ve been very involved,” she said. “They still don’t do anything.”
Dr. Scott Atlas, President Donald Trump’s coronavirus advisor, wrote on Twitter in reaction to the Whitmer administration’s new orders Sunday night that, “The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept.”
Atlas later said he was not talking about violence and would never endorse or incite violence.
Still, Whitmer called the comments “incredibly reckless.”
“We still need to be focused on the public health crisis so to see this is really shocking, but I’m not going to dwell on it because I have a job to do,” she said.
The Governor said she still believes she has the legal authority to pen another stay-at-home order per the recent state Supreme Court decision. However, she said she believes that what needs to be done in terms of public response, at this time, can be done through the recent public health order.
This story was published by the Small Business Association of Michigan.