A Michigan group has submitted 539,000 signatures to repeal a law that has given Gov. Gretchen Whitmer broad emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic. Unlock Michigan is demanding that the veto-proof initiative be put before the Republican-led Legislature before year’s end. It needs roughly 340,000 valid voter signatures for the bill to qualify and has a 200,000 cushion. State Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, is investigating whether the ballot drive used illegal tactics. The Democratic governor has opposed the initiative, saying a 1945 law allowing her to unilaterally extend a state of emergency has helped her save lives.
People who exhaust 39 weeks of unemployment benefits in Michigan are eligible for up to 20 weeks of additional payments. The federal extended benefits program kicked in because Michigan has had an unemployment rate of 8% or higher for three straight months during the coronavirus pandemic. People out of work get up to 26 weeks of regular benefits and an additional 13 weeks because of the virus outbreak. Their weekly payment will be the same as what they received for regular unemployment insurance and not include the since-expired supplemental federal benefit of $600 and later $300.