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Lawsuit challenges mandatory mask rule from Whitmer administration

A new lawsuit is challenging the Whitmer administration's latest face mask order.
A new lawsuit is challenging the Whitmer administration's latest face mask order.(WITN)
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 4:39 PM EDT
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GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - A chiropractor in western Michigan is challenging the state’s mask rule, saying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s health department has no authority to make masks mandatory.

It’s one of the first lawsuits since the Whitmer administration issued new coronavirus orders following a defeat at the Michigan Supreme Court. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued epidemic orders under the Public Health Act of 1978.

The Michigan Supreme Court struck down the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act, which Whitmer had been using to issue coronavirus orders.

The lawsuit, which was filed by the same attorney who represented Owosso barber Karl Manke, claims the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services can regulate gatherings under state law but can’t order masks.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Semlow Peak Performance Chiropractic in Grand Haven. The Ottawa County Health Department told the clinic that it must follow the state order, but the clinic makes masks optional.

“The Supreme Court has ruled and the Governor should comply with its ruling.  We live in a representative republic and are not ruled by one person. My business is not a health threat to anyone, and we take appropriate precautions in providing our services to patients,” Dr. Kirk Semlow said.

Attorney David Kallman, who is representing the chiropractor, also represented Manke when he faced criminal charges and state licensing violations for reopening his downtown Owosso barbershop last May in violation of Whitmer’s orders at the time.

The Shiawassee County Prosecutor’s Office dropped all criminal charges against Manke on Monday, but proceedings against his state license to work as a barber continue.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.