Four sheriffs in northern Michigan declared Wednesday they would not be enforcing recent executive orders signed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer implemented to slow the spread of the novel Wuhan coronavirus in the state.
Citing concerns over violating civil liberties, sheriffs Mike Borkovich, Ted Schendel, Ken Falk, and Kim Cole who protect counties along Lake Michigan in the northwest part of the mitten said in a joint statement that the governor “has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens.”
“As a result, we will not have strict enforcement of these orders,” the sheriffs said. “We will deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense in assessing the apparent violation… We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties.”
On Thursday, Whitmer issued one of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders in the country, if not the strictest. While lottery tickets are still permitted under the governor’s order, sales of fruit and vegetable seeds are prohibited, even though home gardening would further enhance social distancing. People are also prohibited from buying paint.
Michiganders are also barred from traveling “between residences” if they own a second property, though the governor’s order exempts out-of-state residents allowing such individuals to take refuge in their Michigan homes. Under Whitmer, even crossing the street to a neighbor’s house, unless for specific exceptions, has been deemed illegal by the stroke of her pen.
Whitmer first issued a shelter in place order on March 23 with the additional guidelines sparking controversy last week. The extreme measures have prompted an online recall petition for the governor’s removal to circulate which has now racked up more than 250,000 signatures as of this writing.
Meanwhile, thousands converged in the state capital of Lansing Wednesday to protest Whitmer’s rules.
The scene in Lansing right now as protests over @GovWhitmer's stay home order continue.
— Detroit Free Press (@freep) April 15, 2020
Six Republican congressmen from the state also condemned the governor’s new orders on Tuesday.
“Your latest order is far too restrictive and includes provisions that seem arbitrary and internally inconsistent… We believe there is a better approach,” they wrote in a joint letter signed by Reps. Paul Mitchell, Fred Upton, Tim Walberg, Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar, and Jack Bergman.
Joined my colleagues in sending a letter to @GovWhitmer to express our concerns w/ her most recent executive order. We believe amending this order can achieve our shared goal of protecting public health while also beginning the slow process of resuscitating our economy. #MI06 pic.twitter.com/nAEzd2AWqZ
— Rep. Fred Upton (@RepFredUpton) April 14, 2020