Republican State Representative Sarah Lightner of Springport in Jackson County is openly challenging the state’s enforcement of workplace COVID-19 rules. She is telling the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) it needs to spend some time reviewing, if not outright returning fines, assessed against state businesses.  And now based on the latest round of enforcement actions, fines against a state-owned and operated prison.

Representative Lightner is chair of a House appropriations subcommittee. During a recent State House committee hearing with MIOSHA Director Bart Pickelman, she took the department to task for imposing citations and fines which essentially are all based on Executive Orders from the Governor. Those Executive Orders were long ago determined to be unconstitutional by the Michigan State Supreme Court. Now what is happening is the same rules are being imposed by state departments as a workaround to the Governors EO’s.

Representative Lightner says, “Not a single Michigan business should be on the hook for fines they were hit with because of the unconstitutional executive orders.MIOSHA has a responsibility to recognize the ruling of the Supreme Court and follow it. That includes reviewing these fines.” MIOSHA’s Director has said the citations and fines were not going to be reviewed.

The latest round of enforcement action by the state for workplace virus rule violations includes actions against 23 workplaces around the state. Even the state's own Gus Harrison State Correctional Facility in Adrian was hit with fines. That’s leading to questions about how the state will pay itself for the several thousand dollars in fines against the prison.

Representative Lightner points out the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney is dismissing citations issued against workplaces there, for the very reason Lightner says MIOSHA should drop all of the citations statewide.

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