Zorn critical of governor’s strict extended ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ executive order

LANSING, Mich. — After the governor on Thursday issued a new executive order extending her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order through April 30 and adding new restrictions, Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, issued the following statement:

“I am shocked and deeply disturbed about the severe restrictions on people’s freedoms and lives included in the governor’s extended stay-at-home order, even on those in communities with little or no cases of COVID-19.

“Michigan families have done a great job adjusting to life during this extraordinary time, and they deserve to be able to return to their normal lives safely and with proper precautions. Instead, on the Thursday before Easter, the governor continued bans on family gatherings of any size.

“I hope the governor will consider revisions to allow Michigan workers in low-infection areas to get back to work if their employer implements strict health and safety measures to protect their employees and the public.

“Although I appreciate the governor heeding my advice to allow dealerships to continue sales and leasing online and allowing delivery directly to homes, I am greatly disappointed that the governor’s extended stay-at-home order does not allow more Michigan workers in low-risk or low-contact jobs to return to work to support their families.”


Zorn urges governor to allow internet vehicle sales and leasing during COVID-19 emergency

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday sent a letter to the governor urging her to allow Michigan dealerships to sell and lease vehicles online during the state’s COVID-19 emergency.

“Michigan is the automobile state, yet our state’s auto dealers are currently at a great disadvantage compared to dealers in states like Ohio, where they can still sell and lease vehicles in person and over the internet,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We can allow our auto dealers to compete and protect the public from the coronavirus at the same time.

“I am urging the governor to revise her stay-at-home order to allow Michigan dealers to sell and lease vehicles over the internet and deliver them directly to the buyer’s or lessee’s home.”

Zorn’s letter specifically asks the governor to consider amending Executive Order 2020-21 to grant Michigan auto dealers the ability to use online sales and leasing options to serve consumers.

“Our auto dealers have successfully been selling vehicles via the internet for many years through available software such as GM’s Shop, Click, Drive program, which offers no person-to-person contact,” Zorn said. “My request to the governor is about allowing a cornerstone of our economy to continue to function in a limited form while still ensuring our state has the necessary measures in place during this public health emergency.”


Legislature extends Michigan’s state of emergency

LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature on Tuesday approved a resolution to extend Michigan’s state of emergency through April 30.

“It is important that we do everything we can to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and I want to thank the health care workers who are helping patients and everyone who is doing their part to protect themselves and others,” said Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida. “The resolution only extends the governor’s state of emergency declaration to April 30 to match the federal guidelines and continue state efforts to limit the spread of the virus. It does not change the governor’s stay-at-home order.”

On March 10, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Michigan to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the governor requested a 70-day extension of the declaration, but legislators determined that was too long.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 24 extends the governor’s emergency and disaster declaration by 23 days until April 30. It does not require the governor’s signature to take effect.

“The Legislature is the most direct voice of the people, and the governor’s 70-day request was simply too long for the people to not have a say in the actions taken by their government on their behalf,” Zorn said. “This health crisis is rapidly changing. This shorter extension will enable the state to take emergency actions to save lives while also allowing us to review the situation at the end of the month.

“If necessary, we can further extend the declaration. However, we also need to leave open the possibility that things will improve and we can allow Michigan families to get back to work and to their normal lives.”

For more information about COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic, residents can visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus or call the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.


Sen. Zorn holding COVID-19 tele-town hall on Friday

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday announced that he will host a coronavirus (COVID-19) tele-town hall on Friday, April 10 with Dr. Stephen Bell of Newport Internal Medicine.

“The COVID-19 coronavirus is highly contagious and causes respiratory illness that has already infected over 17,000 Michigan residents, including roughly 150 people in Monroe and Lenawee counties,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I want to first remind everyone not to panic during this public health emergency. Be calm but persistent.

“The situation is rapidly changing, and I know people have a lot of questions. I am holding this tele-town hall meeting to help answer questions about the virus, our state’s response efforts to it and what people can do to help protect themselves and others.”

The tele-town hall will take place on Friday, April 10 at 12:15 p.m. Residents wishing to participate may join the meeting by calling 855-756-7520 and entering extension 59091.

Gov. Whitmer recently approved legislation to dedicate $150 million in state and federal funds to help fight the spread of COVID-19. President Trump has also approved a major disaster declaration for Michigan and the governor has issued several executive orders, including orders closing school buildings for the rest of the school year and directing people to stay at home except for limited essential exemptions.

Residents who are unable to participate are encouraged to contact Zorn’s office by calling 517-373-3543 or by emailing the senator at SenDZorn@senate.michigan.gov.

Zorn will also continue to share the latest information on his official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Sen.DaleZorn/.

For information about COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus. The state has also launched a hotline about COVID-19. Residents with any questions about the virus can call 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.


Sen. Zorn urges calm under ‘stay home’ executive order

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday encouraged people to not panic or hoard supplies as they follow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan.

“The response to the deadly coronavirus has led us to a point in time and history that we have never been,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “While the governor has ordered people to stay at home, we as a community should not fear the unknown. We can grasp the opportunity to help each other. For weeks, Michiganders have found a way to cope, and I am confident we will cope with the new normal.”

On Monday, the governor signed Executive Order 2020-21 directing all nonessential businesses to temporarily close and all Michiganders to stay home — with certain exemptions — to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday and will last until at least April 14.

“If you have been practicing proper social distancing and staying home, this will not be much more difficult to follow,” Zorn said. “There are many exemptions that will allow you to move about and, in many cases, continue working if you are considered essential to public safety, health or everyday life. America is a strong nation when it comes to available food sources and everyday supplies. There is no reason to hoard supplies or food.”

Additional guidance from the state is expected, but according to Gongwer News Service and the Detroit News, workers in the following areas are exempted as essential under the order:
• Health care and public health;
• State, county and local government functions, such as law enforcement, public safety and first response, public transit, trash pickup and disposal, elections, financial transactions for critical infrastructure workers and public park safety and sanitation;
• Businesses in the food, beverage and agriculture sector, including grocery stores and restaurants offering takeout or delivery;
• Organizations that provide food, shelter and other necessities of life for the economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy;
• Automotive repair and maintenance facilities;
• Firms in transportation and logistics;
• Businesses in the energy, water and wastewater sectors;
• Public works businesses, such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators and other providers whose services are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences;
• News, communications and information technology;
• Critical manufacturing and the defense industry;
• Firms that handle hazardous materials or are in chemical supply chains and safety;
• Financial and insurance services to the extent that work cannot be done by telephone or remotely;
• Child care organizations if they are caring for the children or dependents of critical infrastructure workers; and
• Suppliers, distribution centers and service providers that employ critical infrastructure workers.

Hotels and motels can remain open, but they may only engage in activities providing shelter and basic needs. In-house amenities, such as gyms, pools and spas will be closed.

Residents can contact Zorn’s office by calling 517-373-3543 or by emailing the senator at SenDZorn@senate.michigan.gov.

For information about COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus. The state has also launched a hotline about COVID-19. Residents with any questions about the virus can call 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.


Zorn staff serving remotely during coronavirus emergency

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday announced that his Senate office will be working remotely as part of recommended procedures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan.

“Following the recommendations of health care professionals and assisting the state’s preventive efforts, my Senate office in Lansing is closed to help protect our constituents and my dedicated staff,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Although our office may be closed, my staff and I will remain available to the people of the 17th District. We will be returning phone calls and emails in a timely fashion and staying active on social media to get out important information.

“We are committed to providing the best service possible to the residents of Monroe and Lenawee counties, and that will not change.”

Residents can contact Zorn’s office by calling 517-373-3543 or by emailing the senator at SenDZorn@senate.michigan.gov.

To stay up to date on other legislative and district communications, residents can also follow Zorn on social media at www.facebook.com/Sen.DaleZorn/ or sign up to receive his e-newsletter at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/subscribe/.

For information about COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus. The state has also launched a hotline about COVID-19. Residents with any questions about the virus can call 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.


Zorn urges calm, preventive steps with coronavirus case in Monroe County

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Monday urged residents to stay calm and to follow recommended procedures to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) following Saturday’s announcement of a confirmed case in Monroe County.

“While the news that someone in our community has tested positive for COVID-19 is sad and unfortunate, it’s not reason to be scared or to panic,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I encourage everyone to be calm but persistent. COVID-19 is highly contagious, but with smart, preventive practices — like washing your hands and avoiding direct interaction with other people as much as possible — you can drastically reduce your chances of getting the virus or spreading it to others.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced on Saturday that an adult woman in Monroe County had tested positive for COVID-19.

As of March 15, there have been 53 positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath and may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Residents who are experiencing any of these symptoms, or are not feeling well, should stay home and consult their doctor.

It is recommended that residents avoid large crowds when possible, and especially avoid people who are sick. People should wash their hands regularly using warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds and do their best to avoid touching their face.

The state has launched a hotline about COVID-19. Residents with any questions about the virus can call 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.

Regularly updated information about this outbreak in Michigan is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.

One of the helpful materials under the site’s “Resources” tab is a document of “Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus Disease 2019” that can help answer many questions that residents have.

In addition to having declared a state of emergency and ordering all school buildings to be closed until at least April 5 to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the governor is now ordering all bars and restaurants in Michigan to close for dine-in guests by 3 p.m. Monday. Delivery and carryout will still be allowed. Several other states, including Ohio, have already taken this step.

The governor’s executive order will be in effect until March 31 and also applies to coffee houses, movie theaters, fitness and recreation centers, indoor sports and exercise facilities, and casinos.   

The order does not apply to office buildings, grocery stores, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, juvenile justice facilities, warehouse and distribution centers, and industrial and manufacturing facilities, and providers of medical equipment and supplies.


Zorn supports immediate funding to fight coronavirus, restore more cuts

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday voted to send the governor a $371 million budget supplemental to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and restore more of her fiscal year 2020 vetoes and transfers.

“This supplemental funding will help Michigan meet pressing challenges and restore more of the funding for important services vetoed by the governor last fall,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This measure authorizes up to $75 million in new funding to help state and local officials respond to the coronavirus and dedicates $5 million for grants to help communities make infrastructure repairs due to high water erosion.”

Senate Bill 151 restores the governor’s cuts to support hospitals, people with disabilities, job training, veterans and more.

The bill includes $500,000 for the Michigan State Police to provide traffic control and security at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on race days and $150,000 for Holiday Camp in Monroe County, a nonprofit summer camp that benefits and supports people with disabilities.

“Everyone in Michigan should have access to our great outdoors, and that is what restoring this support for the holiday camp will provide,” Zorn said. “The MIS security funding will help ensure that our roads are safe and traffic is moving on the days when twice as many fans as a Super Bowl come to our area for a big race.”

SB 151 now heads to the governor to be signed.


Senate approves Zorn railroad crossing safety bill

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to enhance safety and traffic flow at rail crossings.

“As our railroads improve their efficiency, they’re transporting more products and manufacturing materials in Michigan and across the country,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “While increased train usage can help reduce the wear and tear on our roads, longer trains can also block road crossings for longer periods — impacting emergency response times and local business bottom lines.

“This measure would help local governments and the railroad industry partner to resolve this long-standing problem while also improving safety.”

Senate Bill 364 would create a new Local Grade Separation Grant Program to provide state matching funds for local governments and the rail industry interested in taking on railroad grade separations on local roads. The funds would be used to transform a crossing so that road traffic would travel either over or under the railroad.

According to the Michigan Railroads Association, Michigan ranked 15th worst in the nation in 2018 for the number of collisions, injuries, and fatalities at highway-rail crossings.

“As more resources go into fixing the roads, many local agencies do not have the funds to make these railroad crossing improvements,” Zorn said. “This new program would help enhance our rail infrastructure and also improve the safety of Michigan drivers by reducing the chance of a car colliding with a train.”

SB 364 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.


Zorn applauds state loan for Tecumseh wastewater treatment improvements

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn on Tuesday applauded the approval of a state low-interest loan to Tecumseh to help make needed sewer and wastewater treatment improvements.

“To protect our water resources and the health of our residents, it is critical that we continue to help communities invest in important public infrastructure,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I applaud the city of Tecumseh for working with the state to secure the necessary funds to make these key infrastructure improvements.”

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has announced the approval of a $1.76 million loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to Tecumseh to increase reliability of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the sanitary sewer system.

The funds will support the rehabilitation of the sanitary sewer and the replacement of an electrical transformer and a Cyl-Tec pump station.

Michigan’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund is a low-interest loan financing program that assists qualified local municipalities with the construction of needed water pollution control facilities.