Michigan’s Legislature will be convening tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7, to vote on an extension of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency declaration amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has just laid bare how devastating it is that the legislature does not have a contingency plan for situations that require us to have a backup when it’s too dangerous to meet in person.” — State Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak)
The Democratic governor wants to extend the declaration by 70 days. Leaders in the Republican-led legislature don’t believe an extension is necessary.
But critics are questioning whether the body should even convene when the rest of the state and country are being encouraged to social distance and stay home.
Democratic State Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) told WDET’s Russ McNamara that this is another sign that the legislature needs to update its rules.
Click on the player above to hear State Senator McMorrow on the legislature convening to vote on an emergency declaration extension.
“Multiple states around the country have passed legislation to allow for remote voting,” says McMorrow. “I’m from Southeast Michigan. We are a hotspot, and Oakland County has a staggering amount of fatalities so far, as does Detroit. And we could have potentially become the carriers.”
Precautions are being taken to prevent exposure to the virus, including taking legislator’s temperatures before entering the chamber and limiting attendance to the number needed to establish a quorum, which is 20 of the 38 elected members.
But McMorrow says the present situation shows the failure to create a response before other catastrophes as well, such as inclement weather.
“It has just laid bare how devastating it is that the legislature does not have a contingency plan for situations that require us to have a backup when it’s too dangerous to meet in person,” she says.