Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Friday vetoed a bill passed by the Michigan State Legislature, which would eliminate some penalties imposed on businesses that violated strict COVID-19 orders.
House Bill 4501, introduced by State Representative Tim Beson (R-Bay City), would have forgiven fines for first-time violations.
According to a report from The Detroit News, more than 500 businesses throughout the state were docked by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA).
Whitmer argued that the state must enforce its rules, specifically relating to its workplace safety program.
“When a state fails to maintain the minimum standard, it loses control over enforcement of workplace standards,” she wrote when explaining the veto decision. “That would mean higher penalties, an end to voluntary safety outreach services, and the loss of Michigan stakeholder voices in our occupational health and safety program. I will not allow that to happen.”
Notably, Whitmer has been caught violating her own COVID-19 restrictions several times and was forced to apologize.
However, critics claim that the added regulations were a burden on small businesses and the financial penalties could continue to negatively impact them.
Furthermore, opponents argue the basis for the fines stem from a series of executive orders from the governor, which were ruled unconstitutional by the Michigan Supreme Court.
“Gretchen Whitmer and MIOSHA have been more focused on hamstringing job creators than actually keeping Michigan safe,” said Eric Ventimiglia, Executive Director for Michigan Rising Action. “For a governor who has been caught violating her own rules on many occasions, Whitmer’s veto is a slap in the face to small businesses across the state. The people of Michigan are fed up with Gretchen Whitmer and her ‘rules for thee, not for me’ mentality.”
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