Frontline nurses file legal brief supporting Governor’s emergency powers during pandemic

MNA files amicus brief in GOP legislative suit against Whitmer

The Michigan Nurses Association has joined in support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ability to invoke emergency powers by filing an amicus brief in the lawsuit against her by legislative Republicans, saying the governor’s actions provide protection for nurses and other healthcare professionals.

The brief, filed in state of Michigan Claims Court today, contends that the Governor has authority under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 and the Emergency Management Act of 1976.

The brief was filed with unanimous support from the staff nurses who make up the Board of Directors of the Michigan Nurses Association, the largest union and professional association for registered nurses in the state. Many of the board members, like their peers across the state, are working with COVID patients right now. The governor’s protections are a life-and-death issue.

“The Michigan Nurses Association has a special interest in protecting the Governor’s ability to act because our members, many of whom are fighting on the COVID-19 frontline, rely on the protections afforded by her executive action,” said Jamie Brown, RN, a critical care nurse who is president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “The stay-home orders, in particular, are flattening the curve and saving lives – including greatly reducing the deadly risk to nurses and healthcare workers.”

Katie Scott, RN, MNA Vice President, said: “Michigan will no doubt see a resurgence in COVID-19 patients if the Governor’s stay-home order is invalidated or she loses the right to issue one again in the future if necessary. A preventable resurgence of COVID-19 will overload our hospitals and increase risk to nurses and other healthcare workers. The governor’s right to take action during this public health emergency must be protected.”

MNA board member Katie Pontifex, RN, said: “Without the governor’s actions, the only protection nurses and healthcare professionals have is the unreliable supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). Lack of PPE is a statewide problem, affecting our members all across Michigan. We know that the governor is doing everything she can to obtain enough PPE for Michigan, and she must also retain the ability to take action to protect us via executive orders and other steps.”

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to be heard Friday at 10 a.m.

The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for RNs across the state. As the voice for all registered nurses in Michigan, MNA advocates for nurses and their patients at the Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.  

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Contact: Amelia Dornbush; 517-896-7478

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