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State Health Department Director Quintupled Coronavirus Fines

In April, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon raised the fines for violating department coronavirus orders to five times the amount authorized by law.

That becomes noteworthy today since the orders issued by the health department Oct. 5 are essentially the same as those specified in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders, which were recently invalidated by the state Supreme Court.

State law authorizes a maximum fine of $200 for violating a health department order.

On April 2, Gordon ordered the department’s agents to raise the fine to $1,000, citing a law that authorizes the health department director to issue emergency rules. The Gordon rule appears to bypass the review-and-comment process required by law before administrative rules imposed by state agencies may be enforced.

In justifying the action, Gordon wrote that if “standard rulemaking process were followed” it “would result in less compliance with [Gov. Whitmer's executive orders]” and “contribute to the spread of COVID-19.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.