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Wash Co State Sen Jeff Irwin Says Fellow Lawmakers Are 'Playing Politics' During Health Crisis

State Senator Jeff Irwin

The Michigan state Legislature garnered national attention Thursday with reports that protesters with rifles faced off against security and some lawmakers hoping their voices would be heard opposing an extension of the Governor's emergency order in response to the current health pandemic.

After a long day on the state Senate floor, WEMU's Lisa Barry spoke with Washtenaw County state Senator Jeff Irwin to get his take on what happened Thursday at the state Capitol.

Ann Arbor area state Senator Jeff Irwin says he was aware of the protests taking place at the state Capitol in Lansing Thursday but was mostly in the Senate chamber and believes scuffles were taking place elsewhere in the state Capitol building.

One bill was sent to the Governor's desk, which she said she was going to veto, and lawmakers approved funding to sue the Governor to stop her from using an emergency declaration to respond to the current health crisis.  Senator Irwin says some fellow lawmakers were essentially attacking the governor's efforts from the past several weeks intended to save lives in Michigan and protect residents from COVID-19.

He says he is embarrassed on behalf of the state by what is being shown around the world of armed protesters and the presence of Confederate flags, and he feels it is very disappointing.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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