Dear Mr. O'Keefe:
The Mackinac Center is suing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her plan to increase fines on business owners and send them to prison for up to three years if they break her new workplace rules in the wake of COVID-19.
This is an unconstitutional power grab that ignores due process and will make criminals out of business owners trying to get back on their feet.
Under Michigan’s emergency powers laws, the maximum penalty for violating an executive order is $500 and up to 90 days in jail.
But in her latest orders, the governor says that breaking any of her extensive new workplace rules — which include requirements for workplace clothing, spacing, sharing of equipment, screening and much more — will be considered a violation of Michigan Occupational Safety and Health regulations.
And the penalty for violating OSHA regulations can be $70,000 per incident and up to three years in prison.
Not only does this go beyond the emergency powers laws, but the governor’s plan also means taking enforcement of her orders out of the hands of locally elected sheriffs and prosecutors and transferring it to unelected bureaucrats in her administration.
Mr. O'Keefe, Gov. Whitmer cannot unilaterally increase these penalties without legislative approval. Business owners deserve input and due process. Will you help us challenge this overreach by making a gift to the Mackinac Center today? You can donate here.
If we do nothing to stop the governor from assuming emergency powers that she does not have, all of us will be subject to future abuse.
Our clients are Associated Builders & Contractors of Michigan, Inc., which represents 100,000 crafts and trades professionals around the state, and DJ Landscape Management, a landscaping firm in Grand Rapids.
This is the second lawsuit we have filed against the governor’s overreach. Earlier this month we challenged the governor’s ban on what she called “non-essential” medical care in Michigan.
The governor has backed down on that issue, but that doesn’t fix the pain and suffering that people went through when their surgery or other medical treatment was forcibly delayed.
We are continuing to pursue that case to secure a ruling against the governor, so that she cannot backslide and once again prevent the people of Michigan from getting the health care they need.
The exercise of executive power may be necessary in emergency situations. But the Governor’s sweeping assertion that she can rule by emergency powers as long as she wishes, without legislative input, goes beyond the scope of her authority.
As a Mackinac Center supporter, you know that our legal team has both experience and expertise when it comes to challenging government overreach and special interest groups. With past support from friends like you, our legal victories have helped nearly 200,000 people gain back freedoms that were lost.
Mr. O'Keefe, government tends to seize power during a crisis and rarely gives it all back. Threatening business owners and stopping medical care all over Michigan is doing irreparable harm. Your support will help press for solutions that are safe, fair, and uphold the principles of liberty in our Michigan Constitution.
Thank you for considering a gift today.
Joseph G. Lehman