Theis Joins GOP Colleagues In Blocking Whitmer Appointments
February 4, 2021
By Jon King / firstname.lastname@example.org
Senate Republicans have rejected five more appointees nominated by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, in a renewed attempt to voice displeasure with not having input into her administration’s pandemic restrictions.
The move Wednesday came a week after the Senate blocked 13 other gubernatorial nominees. In a statement on her Facebook page, Republican State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township, said she joined with her GOP colleagues to reject the nominees, saying that Gov. Whitmer must, “learn to respect the separation of powers, respect the Michigan Supreme Court, and respect the will of Michigan's people.” Theis, who has introduced legislation to limit emergency orders issued by the state Department of Health and Human Services unless given legislative approval after 28 days, said Whitmer’s administration, “unilaterally shut down businesses, closed schools, issued mandates, and arbitrarily picked winners and losers, which has cost many their entire livelihoods and students their education.”
Today, I joined with my Senate colleagues to reject another series of Governor Whitmer's nominees as her administration...Posted by Senator Lana Theis on Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Senate Democrats criticized the refusal to approve the nominations, led by Sen. Winnie Brinks of Grand Rapids, who said it was, “unfortunate and disappointing that with all that is going on in our world and people still suffering and dying from COVID-19, this is where some people are choosing to spend our short and valuable time together as a Legislature,” calling it “shameful” and “unnecessary,” while Whitmer said the restrictions have kept people safe and urged GOP lawmakers to stop “digging in about our disagreements.”
She has urged the Legislature to codify a mask mandate into law, but Republicans are opposed. They have pushed her to directly tie the relaxing or tightening of business and gathering restrictions to benchmarks such as case rates and hospital capacity, which she has resisted.
It is unclear if or when GOP senators will stop rejecting the governor’s nominees.
“The majority leader has not identified any specific compromise or goal,” said Amber McCann, deputy chief of staff and spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake.
In three weeks, the Senate will hold an advice-and-consent hearing for Elizabeth Hertel, Whitmer’s newly appointed director of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Her nomination will stand unless it is rejected by late March.
The agency on Wednesday reported 32 additional deaths related to COVID-19 in the most recent 24-hour period, bringing the total to more than 15,600.
The state’s seven-day case average has dropped to 1,711, from 2,471, over the past two weeks. Its per-capita rate is fifth-lowest among states. The seven-day average positivity rate is 4.5%, down from 6.4% on Jan. 19.