Menu

Baraga County EEO FAQ’s

Jump to Frequently Asked Questions

Submit a Question to the Prosecutor regarding Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders

Disclaimer

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ENFORCEMENT OF GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER’S EMERGENCY EXECUTIVE ORDERS IN BARAGA COUNTY

CAUTION

THE FOLLOWING ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) ARE NOT INTENDED TO SERVE AS LEGAL ADVICE FOR ANY PARTICULAR PERSON OR ENTITY. THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT INTENDED TO GIVE ANYONE ADVANCE NOTICE OF WHAT ACTION THE OFFICE OF THE BARAGA COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY WILL TAKE IF/AND/OR/WHEN PRESENTED WITH DETAILED FACTS ABOUT EVENTS WHICH OCCURRED IN THIS VENUE. THE SOLE PURPOSE OF THIS FAQ SITE IS TO PROVIDE GUIDANCE FOR CITIZENS IN BARAGA COUNTY TO ASSIST THEM IN UNDERSTANDING AND ADHERING TO THE CONFUSING, ALBEIT TEMPORARY, LAWS ENACTED BY THESE EMERGENCY EXECUTIVE ORDERS.

On March 10, 2020 the first two cases of COVID 19 were identified in the state of Michigan. On that same date the Governor declared a state of emergency and since then has issued no less than 47 (and counting) Emergency Executive Orders (EEO) intended to slow or halt the spread of COVID 19. These EEOs impose unprecedented restrictions on the lives of all Michigan residents and most of the restrictions are misdemeanors punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.00. The Michigan DHHS has also issued emergency regulations that impose fines of up to $1,000.00 for each day an EEO violation occurs.

Initially, Attorney General Dana Nessel assured us that her office would handle any and all EEO violations. Unfortunately, in matter of just a few days, she did an about-face and informed us that enforcement of EEO violations was now up to local prosecutors. In Baraga County that means me.

I could easily write page after page analyzing each EEO and giving my interpretation of each of them. But given the sheer number of EEOs, and the sheer number of calls I have already gotten seeking such interpretations, it is far more efficient and less redundant to simply post answers to these question here on the Baraga County website.

BE ADVISED THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE STATE LAW THROUGHOUT MICHIGAN AND IF SHE DISAGREES WITH MY DECISION ON ANY PARTICULAR CASE, SHE MAY BRING A PROSECUTION EVEN IF I DECLINE TO DO SO. ACCORDINGLY, PROCEED WITH CAUTION AND/OR CONSULT YOUR OWN ATTORNEY BEFORE MAKING DECISIONS BASED SOLELY ON THIS FAQ SITE.

Outdoor Recreation (Click to expand Q & A)

Yes and Yes.

The current status of the EEOs can only be described as absurdly confusing. There is, at least temporarily, no issue surrounding the legality of the EEOs, the  Michigan Court of Claims has recently upheld the Governor’s power to issue such orders past May 1, 2020 (although that ruling is being appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court). Nonetheless, we are now up to 99 EEOs related to COVID 19, many of which modify, repeal and replace former EEOs. The relevant provisions regarding opening your campground are found in EEO 2020-96, which itself repeals EEO 2020-17, 2020-34 and 2020-92 (which was issued only 4 days earlier). EEO 2020-96 divides the state into different “regions” for purposes of resuming certain business activities. Baraga County is located in Region 8.

As to Region 8, in my opinion you are allowed to open. I will forego a lengthy legal analysis of the EEOs which inform my opinion in this regard because it would require too many cross-references to multiple EEO provisions in multiple EEOs. Instead I will note that paragraphs 8(a) and 11(e) of EEO 2020-96 permit people to travel for outdoor recreational activities including boating and camping as well as allowing workers to resume such work. There are guidelines, to be followed which are set forth in EEO 2020-97, paragraph 2, which by now are familiar to everyone in the state of Michigan. These include enhanced cleaning and sanitizing requirements,  prohibiting gatherings where people cannot stay at least 6 feet apart, limiting inter-personal contact with patrons and workers and maintaining 6 feet social distancing, require, and provide for employees, personal protection gear such as face masks, gloves and other gear appropriate to the activity being conducted. All of the EEOs can be found at the following link: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(au0kwd1e50qr541zxcttwpxz))/mileg.aspx?page=ExecutiveOrders

I know this is confusing, Prosecutors statewide are literally scratching their heads over what is legal and what is not. In my opinion, common sense should control. The purpose behind the EEOs is to slow or stop the spread of COVID 19. Using good social distancing practices and wearing protective gear which is appropriate to what you are doing is the very best way to do this. The following link will take you to the CDC website and some good, practical advise on how to keep yourself and those you encounter safe and virus free: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

Stay Healthy!

The DNR is a principle department within the executive branch of Michigan government. See, MCL 324.501 et seq.. As such, it has authority to both interpret statutes and to promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to such statutes. See, Administrative Procedures Act (APA) MCL 24.201 et seq.. The head of the DNR is the Director, who serves at the pleasure of the Governor. There is also a natural resources commission whose Chairperson is appointed by the Governor and whose responsibilities include advising the Director. MCL 324.99921.

The current organizational chart of the DNR can be found here:  https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/EXEC_ORG_CHART_PA370_643057_7.pdf

The current members of the natural resources commission can be found here:  https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79137_79763_79909_83509-26986–,00.html

 

Yes, with proper social distancing techniques.

In my legal opinion, the language in EEO 2020-42 (which rescinded EEO 2020-21) did not prohibit such activity. The language in Paragraph 7 read:

(a) Individuals may leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary:

(1) To engage in outdoor physical activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people outside the individual’s household. Outdoor physical activity includes walking, hiking, running, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, or other similar physical activity, as well as any comparable activity for those with limited mobility (emphasis added).

Some agencies, like the DNR, had interpreted this language to ban motorized boating, but that debate has been mooted by EEO 2020-59 issued today, April 24, 2020, and effective immediately. The new language in (7)(a)(1) now reads:

(a) Individuals may leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary:

(1) To engage in outdoor physical activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people outside the individual’s household. Outdoor physical activity includes walking, hiking, running, cycling, boating, golfing, or other similar activity, as well as any comparable activity for those with limited mobility (emphasis added).

Accordingly, EEO 2020-59 removes any language that could be construed as a ban on motorized boating, whether for fishing or just cruising on the water.

BE AWARE that EEO 2020-59 still requires that people from different households adhere to the CDC’s recommended social distancing guidelines, especially staying six feet apart.

Yes, with proper social distancing techniques. EEO 2020-42 (which rescinded EEO 2020-21) provides that “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.” There are many exceptions but even with an exception people must adhere to the social distancing guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) “including staying six feet away from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.” Paragraph 7 provides that:

(a) Individuals may leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary:

(1) To engage in outdoor physical activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people outside the individual’s household. Outdoor physical activity includes walking, hiking, running, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, or other similar physical activity, as well as any comparable activity for those with limited mobility.

In my opinion, fishing is an outdoor physical activity with or without a motor attached to a particular fishing vessel. As you can see from paragraph 7(a)(1), persons from the same household are explicitly permitted by EEO 2020-42 to fish together with or without social distancing.

It is also my opinion that 7(a)(1) also allows persons NOT from the same household to fish together provided they follow CDC social distancing guidelines, especially staying six feet apart.

EXAMPLES: Common sense should prevail here. A father and son from two households who motor out for a day of fishing, who are seated at opposite ends of the boat and who are not sharing drinks or engaging in other risky behavior that could spread the virus, are very unlikely to have a problem with my office. The same holds true for friends from different households enjoying a day fishing from a motorboat.

On the other hand, if the same individuals mentioned above are in a motor boat and seated side-by-side, or are passing around a shared water bottle, or are cramming four or five people into a small boat, or are tying off with several other boats and passing items back and forth, boat to boat, these people ARE likely to have a problem with my office. As I said, common sense and simple safety precautions should help individuals avoid problems in this regard.

BE ADVISED THAT I AM INFORMED, AND DO BELIEVE, THAT THE DNR DISAGREES WITH MY ANSWER TO THIS FAQ. ACCORDINGLY SOMEONE COULD VERY WELL BE TICKETED EVEN IF THEY ARE USING GOOD COMMON SENSE AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS. IF THAT HAPPENS DO NOT FIGHT OR ARGUE WITH THE DNR OR ANY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. THOSE WHO PHYSICALLY RESIST OR OBSTRUCT SUCH OFFICERS WILL BE PROSECUTED FOR THAT OFFENSE, EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT PROSECUTED FOR AN EEO VIOALTION.

Load More


If you have a question for the Prosecutor regarding Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders, please fill out the following form:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

#explorebaragacounty

County Government

2 S. Main Street
L’Anse, MI 49946

906-524-6100

Convention & Visitors Bureau

755 E. Broad Street
L’Anse, MI 49946

906-524-7444
800-743-4908

Chamber of Commerce

1 N. Main St.
L’Anse, MI 49946

906-353-8808
800-838-1563

Economic Development

1 N. Main St.
L’Anse, MI 49946

Contact Us