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Michigan court again rules in favor of emergency law critics

July 9, 2021 GMT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday reaffirmed an earlier decision that could lead to the repeal of a law that was used by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to order restrictions last year related to the coronavirus.

The court directed the Board of State Canvassers to certify a ballot question that will likely kill the 1945 emergency powers law, which has already been declared unconstitutional.

A group called Unlock Michigan met the 340,000-signature threshold, officials said, but the board deadlocked along partisan lines and refused to certify the issue in April.

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“The board has a clear legal duty to certify the petition,” the Supreme Court said.

When the petition is certified, the Republican-controlled Legislature will likely enact the measure and end the law rather than let it go to a public vote in 2022. Whitmer, a Democrat, is powerless to stop lawmakers if they take that step.

After the Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional in October, Whitmer used a public health law to carry out many of the same policies to stop the spread of COVID-19.