When the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation launched its first lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s act to unilaterally extend her emergency powers, the media immediately took note. The case, filed on behalf of medical providers and a patient who was unable to receive care due to restrictions on “nonessential” medical care, quickly gained attention. Not only were our clients and legal team featured in outlets across the state, but the lawsuit caught the attention of national publishers as well, including The Associated Press, The Washington Times, Bloomberg Law and Becker’s Hospital Review. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck mentioned it on their nationally distributed radio shows, as did numerous radio hosts across Michigan.
As the federal government tries to combat the economic effects of pandemic-related business shutdowns, many states looked to Congress to provide relief funds. Some states, however, were tempted to use these funds to fix budget issues that existed long before the pandemic. To forestall this possibility, the Mackinac Center led a coalition of 24 think tanks to urge lawmakers to strip funds unrelated to COVID-19 relief. The Detroit News published an editorial on this, which later ran in other outlets. Michael LaFaive, senior director of fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center, co-authored a piece for The Hill with Carol Platt Liebau of the Yankee Institute to discuss how state and local bailouts would reward fiscal wastefulness. “In short, bailouts would discourage sound solutions and real leadership, and encourage more bad choices. Forcing all taxpayers to bail out fiscally irresponsible states and local governments would be a profound injustice to those who have voted for more responsible leadership,” they wrote.
You may have heard about the disaster that struck in our own backyard when two dams failed, resulting in a horrific flood that hit Midland and the surrounding areas. Thankfully our staff (and building) is safe, but property damage in the area was extensive. Given the complexities of the events, news outlets turned to Jason Hayes, our environmental policy director, to get his take on the situation. Hayes was quoted in the Washington Examiner, Center Square, Detroit News and Midland Daily News. He also published an op-ed in The Detroit News, in which he called for an independent and unbiased investigation.
Another lawsuit launched by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation is also receiving a lot of attention. The Mackinac Center is currently representing ABC Michigan and a private landscaping company. One point of the lawsuit argues that Gov. Whitmer’s workplace safety mandates are unconstitutional. In June, a state Court of Claims judge ruled that the heightened penalties found in the governor’s executive orders violate state law. It is the first time a court found that any of Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders violated the law. This case was covered in every major newspaper in the state, including the Detroit Free Press, MIRS News, Gongwer, Bridge Magazine, Crain’s Detroit Business, MLive and the Lansing State Journal. It was also covered by USA Today and the Associated Press, running in state papers across the country.
A recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in Espinoza v. Montana brings a ray of hope to Michigan families. Ben DeGrow, director of education policy, wrote about this victory in The Detroit News on the day of the decision. “Michigan’s 50-year-old restrictive stance leaves the state as a serious outlier,” said DeGrow. “This new reality only heightens the urgency for state policymakers to open the door for students to access the full range of educational opportunities.”