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Michigan AG Will No Longer Enforce Governor’s Coronavirus Restrictions

State Supreme Court ruled Whitmer's orders unconstitutional on Friday

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer / Getty Images
• October 5, 2020 5:00 pm

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Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel (D.) will stop enforcing Governor Gretchen Whitmer's (D.) coronavirus regulations, according to a statement released Sunday.

Nessel tweeted the announcement just days after the state Supreme Court ruled that Whitmer's repeated extension of emergency authority was unconstitutional. While the attorney general will no longer prosecute those who violate Whitmer's orders, Nessel praised the governor for implementing the regulations and encouraged Michiganders to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.

"It's [the attorney general's] hope that people continue to abide by the measures that Governor Whitmer put in place," Nessel press secretary Ryan Jarvi said in the statement. "If it weren't for the governor's actions, countless more of our friends, family, and neighbors would have been lost to COVID-19."

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Friday that Whitmer violated the state constitution by issuing emergency declarations beyond April 30. In a related decision, the judges also found that Whitmer's numerous executive orders were unconstitutional because they usurped lawmaking power from the state legislature.

Whitmer and her administration issued a slew of regulations throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The governor at one point banned stores from selling paint and plants and banned the use of motorized boats. Weeks after the order, Whitmer's own husband allegedly tried to flout the governor's restrictions and leverage his clout with a docking company to get his boat launched for Memorial Day weekend.

In August, the Justice Department asked Whitmer to turn over data on coronavirus deaths that occurred in nursing homes, as a state order that required care facilities to readmit patients with coronavirus could have exacerbated deaths. More than 2,000 patients in long-term care facilities died of coronavirus, counting for about 29 percent of the state's 7,125 coronavirus deaths. As of Monday, the state has had more than 128,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Published under: Coronavirus, Michigan