Lawmakers want to know when gov leaves state
LANSING (AP) — Senate Republicans voted Wednesday to require the lieutenant governor to make a “good-faith effort” to notify legislative leaders when the governor has left Michigan and he or she has assumed gubernatorial powers and duties.
The legislation, which appears destined for a veto from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer if it advances, goes to the GOP-led House for consideration.
Under the state constitution, the governor temporarily relinquishes power when departing the state. The bill would force the governor to inform the lieutenant governor, or whoever is next in the line of succession, before leaving and when returning. That official would then have to try to give written notice to legislative leaders within 12 hours of taking over and include the governor’s expected length of absence.
The sponsor, Republican Sen. Tom Barrett of Charlotte, said lawmakers should know who is acting as governor, particularly because he or she can declare emergencies.
“I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” he said. “If we don’t know who that is, we’re not able to react as quickly.”
Democrats voted against the measure, which was introduced and passed after Whitmer’s March flight to see her ailing father in Florida. One called it “silly.” Another said Republicans had no concern about being alerted when former Gov. Rick Snyder traveled outside the state.
“I didn’t hear a peep out of anybody here,” said Sen. Erika Geiss, of Taylor.