Unlock Michigan Petition Drive: Here’s the Scoop
Calhoun County Signing Locations include:
- Miller’s Time Out, 11 am-8 pm, 13261 S. Helmer Road, Battle Creek
- The Cutting Crew 1030 E. Michigan Avenue Battle Creek M-F 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM or Saturday 9:00 to Noon
- Tuffy Auto Service 824 W. Michigan Ave. Marshall, MI M-F 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM or Saturday 8:00 AM to Noon
One time event:
DAILY DROP LOCATION FOR PETITIONS IS BELLABAY REALTY, 626 Romence Road, Portage
Help Needed: Calhoun County Petition Volunteers
There will always be 2 volunteers in the tent for each shift.
PLEASE EMAIL RICK SOON IF YOU CAN TAKE A SHIFT OR TWO:
Michiganders are sharply divided over the way Governor Gretchen Whitmer has handled the COVID-19 crisis in Michigan. Many argue that she’s doing the right thing, erring on the side of safety. Others say she had gone way too far and unnecessarily damaged the Michigan economy and the business community. And there are many on both sides of that argument who are very concerned about the suspension of the Michigan Constitution and the checks and balances of state government.
Citing a 1945 law, the Governor has kept the state in a perpetual state of emergency, rendering the entire legislative branch of elected representatives powerless and mostly irrelevant. A conflicting law, the Emergency Management Act of 1976, gives the governor the same emergency powers as the 1945 law but would require legislative approval for it to continue after 28 days. Many legal scholars argue that Michigan Law should be interpreted on the whole, but so far, the courts have backed the Whitmer Administration’s view. That interpretation gives any governor, present or future, the power to keep the legislature locked away for potentially an entire term of office. The Michigan Supreme Court will weigh in on September 2nd.
Meanwhile, a citizen effort is underway to repeal Michigan's Emergency Powers of Governor Act, 1945. Unlock Michigan is attempting to collect 340,000 signatures from registered Michigan voters. The group’s website says “Unlock Michigan is a coalition of concerned Michiganders who believe that Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s crushing lockdown of life and business across Michigan is a dangerous threat to our livelihoods and constitutional liberties. We believe it is time for the people of Michigan to take back the power and remove the outdated law.”
Spokesman Fred Wszolek was a guest on WBCK’s “Live with Renk” to answer questions about the repeal effort. Wszolek says collecting petition signatures is a lot harder than it looks. “There are a lot of rules, and a lot of hoops to jump through, and we have a Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State who is very hostile to what we’re doing. They’re going to cut us no slack when it comes to getting it done correctly.”
He says they want current petitions to be turned in immediately, but that doesn’t mean they are done collecting signatures. “We just don’t want people turning in all the signatures in the last week, because that means we’re going to be buried under pieces of paper for weeks on end.” He says they want anyone with petitions to go to the Unlock Michigan website and find drop off locations.
Wszolek says their goal is to collect 500,000 signatures and he says it’s going very well. The group was nearly halfway to that number. Unlock Michigan has 180 days from July 7th to collect 340,000 valid signatures, but Wszolek says they expect to have it done much sooner than that.
Wszolek says the petition language is very simple, literally one sentence long:
An initiation of legislation to repeal the Emergency Powers of Governor Act, 1945 PA 302, MCL 10.31 to 10.33, entitled “An act authorizing the governor to proclaim a state of emergency, and to prescribe the powers and duties of the governor with respect thereto; and to prescribe penalties.”
There have been reports of the governor’s supporters trying to fraudulently sign petitions, harassing volunteers, and even stealing clipboards with signed petitions and running away to derail the effort. “Come on, let’s have a civil debate here,” said Wszolek. “I know people passionately believe this governor should be able to rule by decree forever. We don’t. So let’s have an argument about it. We’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing according to the law, so they should do the same thing.”
If Unlock Michigan gets the required signatures, approved by the Board of Canvassers, it goes to the State Legislature. If the House and Senate both approve it in 40 days, it becomes law. “It doesn’t go to the ballot, it doesn’t require the governor’s signature,” said Wszolek. “If the Legislature doesn’t approve it, or doesn’t take it up in 40 days, it would go to the ballot in 2022.”
Wszolek says the group believes the law can be repealed before the year is out. “I think we can all agree that COVID will continue to be a problem. But it’s no longer an emergency. We don’t need to rule by decree anymore. We can get back to the way that the constitution works, where we have debates and people take votes and the governor signs or vetoes. There was an emergency for a while. We didn’t know many things, and we didn’t even know what we didn’t know.”
Proponents of the repeal are most worried that the State Board of Canvassers could drag their feet on approval of the petitions, until a new legislature, possibly with a Democratic majority, is in place. Wszolek says he thinks the Governor may just want to “rip the band-aid off and get this over with.” He says she may not want the issue to be on the ballot when she seeks re-election in 2022.
Here’s a link to a calendar of times and locations where Michigan voters may sign the petition.