Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is facing renewed backlash after she was caught violating her own strict COVID-19 mitigation measures.
In a new move this week, GOP state lawmakers voted to refund business owners who were penalized by Whitmer’s decrees, Breitbart reported.
The state House passed the bill with a veto-proof 74–34 vote after she was spotted at a pizzeria where she appeared to disregard her own seating limitations, according to Breitbart.
While Republicans provided most of the votes in favor of the legislation, it even attracted support from 17 Democrats in the chamber, reports noted.
Specifically, the bill calls on the state to compensate businesses that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 orders that the Michigan Supreme Court ruled to be unconstitutional last year as well as any current orders that might later be overturned.
The Michigan health department has collected $259,200 in fines from nearly 100 closed cases and another 112 open cases are demanding a total of $364,200 in fines. Twenty-nine cases are currently under appeal with fines totaling nearly $120,000.
Lawmakers introduced the bill in March but the measure received a boost in popularity after Whitmer was found dining with a dozen people in violation of a rule limiting tables to just six diners. In the wake of that controversy, the governor quietly dropped the rule.
Claims of hypocrisy
State Rep. Steve Johnson, a Republican, was among the bill’s supporters and called out Whitmer for her perceived hypocrisy.
“If the governor can violate her orders without any repercussions, then why should our business owners be fined?” he asked, according to Breitbart.
For her part, Whitmer offered an apology of sorts to her constituents but has neglected to provide any concrete indication that she plans to make things right for those business owners who have been crushed by fines stemming from her decrees. She reiterated that her administration is focused on penalizing only those businesses that “flout” her rules instead of those merely trying to do the right thing.
The Landshark Bar & Grill, she said, had “pretty good pizza.” It appears that business will not face any fines associated with the governor’s recent outing.
In its response to the news, the local health department claimed that it does not “jump to issuing violations and fining people and that sort of thing” if a business is willing to cooperate, according to the Detroit Free Press.