Unlock II initiative to curb public health orders will not submit signatures

A ballot initiative that would limit the length of public health orders in Michigan will not submit petition signatures on Wednesday, ending for now an attempt to rewrite public health law widely used during the pandemic.

A spokesperson for the so-called Unlock Michigan II ballot initiative said organizers collected the minimum 340,047 signatures needed to appear on the November ballot or seek passage by the GOP-led Legislature. , but had not achieved “a sufficient number of additional signatures to withstand the expected challenge of those who insist on the current law of regulation by decree.”

“But we are confident in the success of the next legislature and hope that a new governor will join us in an effort to reform,” Unlock Michigan spokesman Fred Wszolek said in a statement.

Unlock Michigan II is one of nearly a dozen initiative petitions with 340,047 signatures that must be signed Wednesday to be on the November ballot.

Initiatives due to submit signatures on Wednesday include one advocating tougher voter ID rules, Secure MI Vote; a pair of initiatives to create a controversial, tax-incentive scholarship program, called Let MI Kids Learn; a proposal to raise Michigan’s minimum wage, called Raise the Wage; and another pair of initiatives aimed at tightening the rules around payday loans, called Michiganders for Fair Lending.

A ballot initiative to establish a forensic audit process in Michigan, called Audit MI, has not received form approval from the Board of State Solicitors and has not garnered any signatures. , spokesman John Rocha said on Friday.

Additionally, the Michigan Initiative for Community Healing, a ballot initiative to decriminalize psychedelic plants and mushrooms, hopes to submit signatures later this summer to be placed on the 2024 ballot, organizer Myc Williams said.

Polling commissions collecting signatures for four separate constitutional amendments, one of which has until July 11 to collect the required 425,059.

Unlocking Michigan II would have limited the emergency powers of state and local health departments by limiting epidemic orders to 28 days, after which public health officials would have to seek extension approval from the legislature or bodies local managers.

The effort came after the group in 2020 and 2021 managed to collect enough signatures to repeal the Governor’s Emergency Powers Act of 1945, which underpinned Whitmer’s initial handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The law was ruled an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power by the Michigan Supreme Court in October 2020, but Unlock’s collection of signatures and adoption of ballot wording by the GOP-led Legislature in July 2021 have completely removed the law from the books.

After the Michigan Supreme Court struck down the 1945 law, Whitmer’s administration turned to issuing pandemic restrictions such as closing schools and restaurants through epidemic orders from the state health department, which made it the target of the Unlock Michigan II petition.

Wszolek, a Republican political consultant, said Tuesday that State Rep. Matt Hall, R-Comstock Twp., and Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, both said public health law reform would be “one of the first items on their agenda”. in the new session. Hall and Nesbitt seek to lead their respective chambers as Speaker and Majority Leader in the next session if Republicans maintain a majority in the State House and Senate.

“…we are confident that Michigan voters are ready to turn the page on the era of bureaucrats ruling by fiat in the name of ‘public health,'” Wszolek said in a statement.

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