Governor Whitmer can use her emergency powers under MCL 10.31, not just to limit movement, but also to INSURE the economic survival of the people of Michigan.
In the 1930’s governors and legislatures placed Moratoriums on all Foreclosure in 25 states including a 5 year moratorium in Michigan. When challenged by the banks, the moratoriums were upheld as constitutional by the US Supreme Court in the case of Home Building & Loan Association v Blaisdell, 290 US 398 (1934). The Supreme Court held:
“The sovereign right of the Government to protect the lives, health, morals, comfort and general welfare of the people, is paramount to any rights under contracts between individuals.” The foreclosure moratoriums were also upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court in Russell v Battle Creek Lumber Co, 265 Mich App 649 (1934).
Pursuant to the emergency powers vested in the governor by Michigan law, and in order to protect the lives and general welfare of the people in this unprecedented emergency: Governor Whitmer can and must:
· Place a Moratorium on all Evictions in Michigan for the next 6 months or longer if the health crisis persists;
· Place a Moratorium on all Foreclosures in Michigan for the next 6 months or longer if the health crisis persists;
· Place a Moratorium on all utility shutoffs in Michigan for the next 6 months or longer if the health crisis persists;
· Place a moratorium on all mortgage, rental and utility payments in Michigan for the next 6 months or longer if the health crisis persists, followed by an affordability mechanism covering all payments for the next year while the economy recovers.
· Direct Michigan-based businesses to produce needed goods such as ventilators, n95 masks, and other personal protective equipment for medical workers.
· Requisition stores of needed medical supplies from businesses, and regulate and deliver these goods, in accordance with need to the most overwhelmed hospitals.
Furthermore, Gov. Whitmer can and must suspend the enforcement of MCL 750.383(a), which makes it a five-year felony to restore one’s own water service. This would allow residents to immediately restore their own water service during this emergency.
Governor Whitmer also can and must use the emergency authority under MCL 30.404, to enter into reciprocal aid agreements with other states and other countries to obtain food, clothing, medicine and supplies to meet the crisis.
Today China is the leading producer of medical supplies. China was able to stop the Coronavirus by cooperating with countries around the world and the World Health Organization. Cuba is sending doctors experienced in dealing with health crises to countries all over the world including to Italy, and has developed an anti-virus manufactured in China, Interferon 2B which has been effective in treating the Coronavirus in seriously ill individuals.
With Trump abandoning any federal responsibility for supplying necessary medical equipment and leaving the states on their own, Governor Whitmer should take the lead in organizing an international mission to our state to help respond to this crisis. Specifically medical teams from China and Cuba should be invited immediately, given the explosion of COVID-19 cases in Michigan.
The answer to this worldwide Pandemic is not racism and national chauvinism as exemplified by the Trump administration, but international solidarity and cooperation.
Issued by: Moratorium NOW! Coalition
On Facebook: @MoratoriumNowCoalition