CBS Detroit – The Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday Governor Whitmer had no authority past April 30 to enforce her executive orders. Now she is requesting Michigan’s high court to clarify their opinion.
In an article by the Detroit Free Press, the Governor is asking the decision to be delayed into taking effect until October 30. In a motion filed to the court, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon wrote, “The matter demands immediate consideration to enable an orderly transition to manage this ongoing crisis,”.
In a statement Whitmer wrote a transition period is necessary “to protect 830,000 Michigan workers and families who are depending on unemployment benefits to pay their bills and put food on the table and to protect Michiganders everywhere who are counting on their leaders to protect them,”. While she did say she disagrees with the ruling, she is willing to reach across to Republicans in the legislature to “find common ground to slow the spread of the virus and rebuild our economy.”
For now, there is some uncertainty on how the Michigan Supreme Court decision will affect the state. The Detroit News reported yesterday that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will no longer enforce the Governor’s executive orders. Meaning the AG’s office won’t pursue criminal proceedings for those who violate the orders. Bob Stevenson who is executive director of The Michigan Chiefs of Police Association told the Detroit News, “If the attorney general says it’s over, then it’s over,”. However, the Governor’s office says they have 21 to 28 days to request a hearing, and that period gives them time to keep the orders in effect for a transition.
Attorney Katherine Henry who argued the landmark case for the plaintiff’s side did an interview on Fox 2’s “Let It Rip Weekend” saying Michigan residents can burn their masks. According to Newsweek, Henry said the court’s decision on Friday was immediate that day. Telling people they can burn their masks, open up their church services, and concluding “All of those executive orders, based on COVID-19 circumstances, from 2020, they’re out, they’re gone, they’re done.” Henry also said Michigan’s law is clear that when filing for a motion for reconsideration does not stay a court’s decision while a motion is up for reconsideration.
Merlo Construction was recently hit with violations from MIOSHA for not providing enough COVID-19 protections to its employees. An article by Hometown Life said they were fined $5,600 after a MIOSHA inspection at a Livonia job site in July. MIOSHA claims employees were not taking protections to protect each other and communities from COVID-19. Merlo’s operations manager, Brian Misaras said he does not agree with the facts of the citation and plans on appealing it. MIOSHA said in a statement to Hometown Life that the Michigan Supreme Court ruling does not affect their ability to conduct workplace investigations related to COVID-19. Writing in a statement, “MIOSHA’s authority to conduct investigations and enforce workplace safety protections arises from statute because the state legislature has tasked MIOSHA with ensuring that employees are provided safe work environments that are free of recognized hazards. The recent Supreme Court decision does not change that,” wrote Sean Egan, Michigan’s director of COVID-19 workplace safety. Further saying MIOSHA’s authority comes from its “statutorily supported general duty clause”.
On Saturday, Oakland County’s Public Health Division issued Emergency Order 2020-12, that is requiring Oakland County residents to wear face coverings in any indoor public space and when outdoors and six-foot social distancing requirements cannot be met. Which includes all K-12 students in schools. When asked about Oakland County’s new mask order, Henry said she plans to take orders like this done under Michigan’s health code to court calling it “unconstitutional”. Katherine Henry is the founder of Restore Freedom Initiative.
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