Zorn backs continuing critical COVID-19 protections, defending co-equal government

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday supported measures to continue many noninvasive COVID-19 protections and defend the Legislature’s role in states of emergency.

“We all agree that we need to do what we can to protect the lives of Michigan families from the COVID-19 pandemic; the difference is whether the governor should keep unchecked emergency powers or if she should work with the Legislature,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Unfortunately, the governor has chosen to try to keep her total power over the Michigan people instead of working with the Legislature on ways to protect the public from COVID-19 while also putting in place specific plans for allowing more Michigan workers to return to work.”

Gov. Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-4 on March 10 declaring a state of emergency across Michigan to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and she issued EO 2020-33 on April 1 to include a state of disaster related to the pandemic. On April 7, the Legislature adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 24 to extend the states of emergency and disaster through April 30.

Senate Resolution 114 would to allow the body to challenge in court any executive actions taken by the governor after the Legislature’s state of emergency extension expires on May 1.

The Senate also sent the governor legislation to put several COVID-19 executive orders into law and extend those that need to continue to help fight the virus and deal with its impacts. Among the 28 orders included in Senate Bill 858 are those regarding expanded unemployment benefits, distance learning for schools, and liability protections for health care workers treating patients in innovative ways. The bill does not include or extend the state of emergency declaration or the governor’s stay-at-home order.

“The people of Monroe and Lenawee counties, like millions of people across the state, have faced this global pandemic with determination and resolve,” Zorn said. “I encourage them to continue to take the steps to protect themselves and their communities. They deserve to have their government work together to fight this virus, protect our most vulnerable, enable workers to safely support their families, and ensure their voices are heard in these important discussions. That is what these measures will do and why I supported them.”