Friday, October 09, 2020

A Tale Of Two States

      Or possibly four states -- and yet they are all the same state, Michigan.

     Like many another state, Michigan declared a state of emergency as the coronavirus pandemic ramped up; their Governor issued some kind of emergency order and the legislature extended it, an extension that ran out at the end of April.

     Every state has a different procedure for this sort of thing -- and this particular sort of thing is unusual enough that laws already on the books don't always fit.  Most of state governments have kept attorneys busy trying to figure out what they can and cannot do and how they need to go about the things they can.  In Michigan, the (Democrat) Governor and the (Republican-majority) legislature came to different conclusions. 

     The Governor kept on issuing emergency orders with the same general kind of restrictions we have seen in most states, stay-home orders, group size limitations, social distancing and mask requirements.  Just as in every state, not everyone thought this was a good idea.  There were multiple reactions:
  •   The legislature expressed doubt about her legal authority to issue those orders, and took it to court.
  •   Armed protesters showed up at the statehouse waving signs, got in people's faces and got themselves on the news.  The usual pundits predicted the usual Dire Consequences which, as usual, did not happen.
  •   A petition was circulated to repeal the law under which the Governor claimed authority to issue emergency orders.
  •   A small and remarkably maladroit group of conspirators ginned up a plan -- well, what they thought of as a "plan," at least -- to kidnap the Governor and then Do Something.  Exactly what isn't clear; murder, arson and some kind of "trial" were all possible.  And of course, one (at least one) of the group was an FBI informant -- which hardly seems necessary, since they did a lot of their discussion on Facebook.  I'm surprised they didn't just rent a few billboards.  Unlike the preceding three approaches, this one's a plain old felony.
     One of these approaches got results desired by its proponents.  Guess which one.  --You peeked, didn't you?  Yes, it was taking the Governor to court.  The Michigan Supreme Court decided the legislature was reading the law correctly and the Governor was mistaken.  Her emergency orders have been yanked and it's up to the Michigan legislature to figure out what to do next as their number of daily cases continues to ramp up.*
* As they are presently increasing in Indiana and several other states.  This may be trending towards an unpleasant surprise for everyone, especially the "It'll all end the day after the election" crowd: it's looking like the infection rate could be getting ugly by Thanksgiving, if not earlier, and we may once again see some restrictions to limit the spread.  Not looking forward to another round of "spirited debate" about that, either.  Hey, nobody likes those restrictions, okay?

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