Barrett introduces legislation to ensure oversight for long-term National Guard deployments

‘Our dedicated troops deserve thorough consideration and deliberation for long-term activations’

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tom Barrett on Thursday introduced a bill to require legislative approval for any long-term state activation of the Michigan National Guard. The legislation would not apply to federal mobilizations or deployments.

“The National Guard is a vital component of our state government,” said Barrett, R-Charlotte. “While governors need the authority to deploy the guard and quickly address crises, the Legislature has an active interest in the use of our troops and state funds. Federal law helps keep the president accountable to Congress for military activities, and my legislation will provide greater oversight and accountability at the state level by requiring legislative approval for deployments longer than four weeks.”

The governor serves as the commander in chief of the guard. Under current state law, there is no limit on how long the governor can activate the guard. Senate Bill 150 would allow the governor to order a member of the guard to active state service for no more than 28 days. The governor would then be required to order the guardsman out of service, unless both houses of the Legislature were to approve a request by the governor for an extension of the activation period for a specific number of days.

“I know the commitment to service exhibited by our men and women in uniform,” Barrett added. “Our dedicated troops are always ready to serve their state, and they deserve thorough consideration and deliberation of any long-term activations.”

SB 150 would only affect active state service orders. The Michigan Military Act of 1967 defines “active state service” as “military service in support of civil authorities, at the request of state or local authorities, including, but not limited to, support in the enforcement of laws prohibiting the importation, sale, delivery, possession, or use of a controlled substance.”

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Families, Seniors, and Veterans, on which Barrett serves as vice chair. Barrett also serves as chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Affairs/State Police.