As businesses who differ from the official pace for reopening society begin to act in civil disobedience, the governor has claimed the power to increase penalties for violation of executive orders.
Now that Michigan is beginning to open up again following the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Governor Whitmer is allowing businesses to re-open only if they adhere to "strict workplace safety measures". Any businesses that do not follow this pace for re-opening are subject to a three-year felony and a fine of up to $70,000 per occurrence. In addition, if the state does not seek jail time for an offense the standard of proof is lowered from "beyond a reasonable doubt".
Jeff Wiggins, the state director for ABC Michigan, states that Michigan's trade workers deserve to have a voice in the governor's rule process, and should not be threatened with arbitrary, unclear, or overly burdensome regulations from the governor. Another client, DJ VanderSlik of DJ's Landscape Management, states that the constitution is needed for a reason and Whitmer making her own re-opening rules without approval from the legislature is neglecting the people she was voted in to represent.
Whitmer's executive order also takes power away from elected officials like sheriffs and prosecutors and puts it in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed a complaint and a Motion of Immediate Declaratory Judgement, in hopes that the issue will be addressed sooner rather than later.
On June 8th, the Circut Court ruled that the MIOSHA penalties as applied to the emergency powers are invalid, as Gov. Whitmer does not have that authority under the Emergency Powers of Governor Act or the Emergency Management Act. Those acts limit violations to misdemeanors.