Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is being accused of abusing the state’s cellphone emergency alert system after she used it to inform Michigan residents of a new statewide mandate requiring face masks.
Cellphone-owning Michiganders received an emergency text message Monday informing them they must now wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces and in crowded outdoor spaces in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“Emergency Alert,” the text message read, in part. “From the Governor’s Office: Fight COVID by wearing a mask.”
Ms. Whitmer’s administration previously used the emergency alert system for coronavirus-related reasons when she reminded residents of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order in March.
The governor’s use of the system for informational purposes has irked state Republican lawmakers, who are planning to introduce legislation next week that would restrict the system to only time-sensitive emergencies or natural disasters, MLive reported.
“This sets a dangerous precedent,” state Rep. Bradley Slagh said in a statement. “The EAS should be reserved for use by our brave first responders, who are trying to prevent immediate loss of life and property, or are trying to locate missing persons, not by governors issuing unilateral mandates that have already been widely publicized.”
“This is an overt abuse of a service designed to alert people of legitimate emergencies — the governor has gone beyond the scope and intent of the law and is now somewhere over the rainbow and approaching Oz,” state Sen. Peter Lucido said in a statement.
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