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

For information about COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic, visit 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

To stay up to date on other legislative and district communications, residents can also follow Zorn on social media at or sign up to receive his e-newsletter at

For information about COVID-19 and the state’s response to the pandemic, visit 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

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.


Zorn’s rental property transfer reform approved by Senate

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation by Sen. Dale Zorn to allow rental property owners more flexibility when transferring property between entities.

“This reform would stop local governments from requiring unnecessary and costly rental re-inspections simply based on the transfer of a property from one type of entity to another if the owners of both entities are the same people,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This issue is a form of double dipping and arises when an owner transfers property from one business entity to another or from personal ownership into an LLC, IRA or trust. Properties that are certified and in compliance at the time of these limited types of transfers shouldn’t need to be re-inspected.”

Senate Bill 692 amends the Housing Law of Michigan to add that a transfer of ownership to another person is not a change in ownership if the owner, owners, trustors, grantors, or members of the transferring person are under common control.

Under the bill, a property must have been inspected within two years of it being transferred. Since several municipalities have longer time periods between inspections due to good behavior or inspection capacity, the bill allows for a period set forth by the local municipality if it is longer than two years.

SB 692 clarifies that “person” in the law means an individual or a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability limited partnership, trust, individual retirement account, or other legal person recognized in Michigan.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.


**PHOTO ADVISORY** Zorn, Bellino honor St. Mary Catholic Central 2019 state champion football team at Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, and Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, welcomed the 2019 St. Mary Catholic Central High School football team and Head Coach Adam Kipf to the Michigan Capitol on Thursday.

During Senate session, Zorn recognized the team for winning the 2019 Division 6 football state championship last November and presented the team with a special tribute in their honor. It was the school’s fourth football state title.


Editor’s note: The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting

Video of Zorn recognizing the team during Senate session is available by clicking here or by visiting

**PHOTO ADVISORY** Zorn, Bellino welcome state champion St. Mary Catholic Central volleyball team to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, and Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, joined Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist in welcoming the St. Mary Catholic Central High School volleyball team and Head Coach Karen O’Brien to the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday.

Zorn recognized the team during Senate session for their recent Division 3 State Volleyball Championship and presented the team with a special tribute in their honor.


Editor’s note: The above photographs are available by clicking on the images or by visiting

Video of Zorn recognizing the team during Senate session is available by clicking here or by visiting

Zorn disappointed in governor’s veto of high school press box bill

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn expressed his disappointment that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday vetoed his legislation to clearly state that football stadium press boxes, concession stands and ticket booths do not need to be heated as “occupied” spaces.

“This bill was a commonsense reform designed to ensure that no other school in Michigan has to deal with the bureaucratic nightmare Madison School District did last year,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “By vetoing this bill, the governor is saying that she doesn’t care if schools have to waste valuable time and taxpayer dollars on unnecessary building requirements or a burdensome appeals process.”

Zorn noted that while the Madison schools were able to move on with an important improvement project for its student athletes, Hudson Area Schools are going through the same situation.

“I am deeply disappointed that Governor Whitmer vetoed Senate Bill 294,” said Dr. Michael J. Osborne, superintendent of the Hudson Area Schools. “My small community and school district are now in a position where we have to consider increasing our costs by more than 25%. This is devastating to a small community attempting to replace a press box that is over 50 years old. We have numerous safety issues with our current press box, and it is imperative that we address these issues. Just considering a modest press box is a major financial burden for a district our size.

“Our community has generously donated about half of the funds that were originally estimated for the cost. Now with the new interpretation of the regulations and the veto by Governor Whitmer, our plan for a safe and functional press box is even further away. To have this bill move through the House and Senate only to be vetoed by the governor is very disheartening.”

Last summer, Madison School District in Adrian was putting in bleachers in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and building a new press box facility near the football field and track. However, state building inspectors had initially interpreted the mechanical code to say that the press box would be an “occupied space” and would need permanent heating facilities capable of maintaining a minimum room temperature of 68 degrees.

In July, the district won its appeal to the Michigan Construction Code Commission, allowing it to proceed with the project without the additional costs.

In response to the initial ruling, Zorn sponsored Senate Bill 294, which would have amended Michigan’s construction code to clarify that interior spaces, such as press boxes under 500 square feet, that are built as viewing areas for outdoor sporting activities are exempt from the permanent heating requirements. The bill would have also exempted ticket booths and concession stands from the heating requirement.

In her veto letter, the governor said, “legislation that makes construction in this state less safe for everyone is not an appropriate response to a single license denial,” and that “bills like SB 294 … encourage disappointed applicants to ‘appeal’ to the Legislature.”

“There is nothing in my bill that would have made high school press boxes less safe or built with shoddy construction, as stated by the governor, since the school districts use union labor. I am disappointed in her response,” Zorn said. “In fact, by vetoing the bill the governor will force some schools to continue to use old, outdated facilities as they raise the additional funds for unnecessary heating units.

“The governor’s last reason for her veto is baffling. Most of what we do in the Legislature is listen to the people about ways to improve state laws and make their government work better for everyone. In this case the governor is doing the opposite by forcing school districts to spend more of their valuable time and limited resources on these projects. It is inappropriate to use funds meant for educating our students.”