Republicans pressure Michigan to forgive COVID-19 business fines

Republicans pressure Michigan to forgive COVID-19 business fines

Attempts to reach MacDonald for further comment on the intent of the resolution were unsuccessful Thursday and Friday morning. “There were certain businesses who intentionally and knowingly flew in the face of the recommendations … that intentionally stayed open, that argued with police offers, with health departments and put residents and their own employees at risk,” McMorrow said during session. “I don’t think we can stand here as a body and say that you should be rewarded during an unprecedented global pandemic for putting residents of Michigan in danger.” RELATED: Marlena’s Bistro supporters see restaurant closure as latest fight for ‘freedom’ in pandemic

For Democrats, the problem with the resolution is that it doesn’t only call for forgiveness of the businesses that made honest mistakes in interpreting the rules, said Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak. “Many of these business owners are not lawyers and they were faced with a great challenge when interpreting these rules,” resolution sponsor Sen. Michael MacDonald, R-Macomb Township, said in session on Thursday. “We should not – and I repeat, not – be penalizing individuals for these mistakes during these unprecedented times.”

It would also reward those who violated the rules on purpose for their own gain – like restaurants that stayed open inside during the Nov. 18 through Jan. 31 dine-in ban. Resolutions are non-binding and do not have a direct impact on existing laws, but are frequently used by government bodies as a statement of priorities or to declare intentions.

Some businesses were fined by multiple Michigan agencies. Iron Pig Smokehouse in Gaylord was fined and had its liquor license suspended by the MLCC, had its food license suspended by MDARD and was fined by the MDHHS after the restaurant advertised it would stay open inside despite the dine-in ban and wouldn’t require masks. An administrative law judge upheld the liquor license suspension for 90 days, chiding the restaurant’s slogan “Risk it for the brisket,” and suggesting “Brisket to die for,” might be more appropriate. MacDonald’s resolution only asks for fine forgiveness from the MDHHS and MLCC. MIOSHA has handed out more citations than any – with 282 and counting, most of them coming with fines.

Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA)Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC)Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) The following four agencies have all issued at least a dozen fines, citations or license suspensions to businesses during the pandemic.

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