A veto-proof majority of Michigan representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would require the state to refund coronavirus-related fines after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) was caught violating her own order.
“If the governor can violate her orders without any repercussions, then why should our business owners be fined,” state Rep. Steve Johnson (R) wondered.
Watch his floor speech:
The fines and penalties have been significantly related to Whitmer’s executive orders, later ruled unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court.
The Center Square reported Whitmer’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity issued 96 fines totaling $259,200. There are 112 “open” cases for alleged violations with potential fines that could amount to another $364,200. Currently, 29 of those are under appeal.
Breitbart News reported Wednesday about 56 restaurants and bars punished by the Whitmer administration over her orders. Johnson cited other businesses, including home builders and office equipment providers, that have also been hit.
The municipality most aggressive at citing individuals and businesses is by far the city of Detroit. In February, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy dismissed over 1,600 citations issued by Detroit police or health officials enforcing Whitmer’s orders.
Worthy said there was “no legal basis” to prosecute the alleged offenders.
Grand Rapids — Michigan’s second-largest city — issued zero coronavirus order-related tickets, a police department representative told Breitbart News. Sterling Heights, the state’s fourth-largest city, wrote 12 tickets, a spokesman said. Lansing issued 10 “written reports,” which were referrals for potential prosecution, the police department told Breitbart News.
On Saturday, Whitmer and at least 12 others dined at The Landshark, a dive bar in the college town of East Lansing. Whitmer claimed the group pushed tables together, violating her restaurant table capacity order.
The order, which requires tables to be six feet apart and bans groups larger than six, was revised after Whitmer’s violation and will expire June 1.
REACTION: After a photo surfaced of @GovWhitmer at a table in an East Lansing bar with a dozen other people, seemingly against her own COVID orders, her press secretary released this statement from Whitmer:@9and10News pic.twitter.com/fePStJvfK8
— Eric Lloyd (@EricLloyd) May 23, 2021
“Yesterday, I went with friends to a local restaurant. As more people arrived, the tables were pushed together,” Whitmer admitted after the Breitbart News exclusive report.
“Because we were all vaccinated, we didn’t stop to think about it,” she claimed.
“In retrospect, I should have thought about it. I am human. I made a mistake, and I apologize,” the governor said.