Conservative Activists Return to Michigan's Capitol as Lawmakers Authorize Lawsuit Challenging Governor's Powers
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The Republican-led Michigan House refused to extend the state's coronavirus emergency declaration as conservative protesters gathered outside the Capitol.
(LANSING, Mich.) — The Republican-led Michigan House refused Thursday to extend the state's coronavirus emergency declaration and voted to authorize a lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's authority and actions to combat the pandemic.

The step came as hundreds of conservative activists, including some who were openly carrying guns, returned to the Capitol to denounce her stay-at-home order.

Whitmer wanted lawmakers to extend her emergency declaration by 28 days. It expires late Thursday. But at the same time, she believes she has other powers to respond to the crisis and does not need a legislatively-approved extension except to ensure that health care workers would continue to have special legal protections. She has said the state of emergency will continue regardless.

The declaration is the foundation for Whitmer's stay-at-home measure, which will remain in effect through May 15, and other directives aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. It has infected more than 41,000 Michigan residents and contributed to the deaths of 3,789. The virus and the steps taken to curb it, including the closure of nonessential businesses, have had a devastating effect on the economy.

The House voted 59-41, along party lines, for a bill that would temporarily codify many of Whitmer's orders but not her stay-at-home directive. Restaurants could begin dine-in service on May 16, when bars, casinos, gyms and other places of public accommodations also could reopen.

Businesses open to the public would have to adhere to social distancing and other mitigation measures until May 30. The state Senate remained in session to consider the legislation despite a certain veto by Whitmer.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Levering Republican, said the…
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