Hundreds of conservative activists — including some who refused to wear masks and openly carried guns — descended on the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich., Thursday to denounce Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus stay-home order and business restrictions.
Against that backdrop, the Michigan House of Representatives declined on Thursday to extend Whitmer's state-of-emergency order another 28 days, instead opting to sue her.
As Breitbart News reported, Whitmer’s initial state of emergency order, which is separate from the stay-at-home order, is to expire Thursday and required legislative action to be lengthened.
But talks to do so fell apart earlier this week, and instead, Speaker Lee Chatfield, the House is challenging what he called an "unchecked and undemocratic approach" that leaves the state's residents without any recourse or voice in the process.
The House also passed a resolution that would restrict a governor's state-of-emergency orders to 14 days, legislation Whitmer vowed to veto, Breitbart said.
The Senate is expected to vote on a similar resolution authorizing leaders to pursue legal action against Whitmer’s orders, Breitbart said.
There was just as much boisterous action outside the chambers, angry speakers lashed out and drivers honked horns while traveling past the Capitol — a repeat of an April 15 protest, if short of the thousands who participated then, the Associated Press reported.
“The virus is here. It’s going to be here. ... It’s time to let people go back to work. That’s all there is to it,” said Joni George, of Flushing.
Another crush of protesters — many without face coverings — entered the Capitol and demanded to be let onto the House floor, which is not allowed.
Several demonstrators in the Senate gallery were openly carrying guns, which is legal in the Statehouse. One state senator said the armed men shouted at her, and several senators wore bulletproof vests for protection.
Shanon Banner, a state police spokeswoman, estimated there were 400 to 700 protesters and said they were “peaceful” overall, the AP reported.
No tickets were given people who didn’t wear masks. One demonstrator was arrested for assaulting another protester, the AP reported.
According to WXYZ Detroit, there are differences between Whitmer's emergency declaration and her stay-home order, which was done by executive order and has already been extended to May 15.
The state of emergency was originally enacted on March 10, the day the first two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Michigan, the channel said.
Under the Michigan Emergency Management Act, the governor may declare a state of emergency or state of disaster, which will allow the governor to activate applicable relief forces.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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