Legislators Disagree with Grouping St. Clair and Lapeer Counties in With Detroit Region

A group of Michigan House members today said the governor should revise an initial COVID-19 economic reopening map that places St. Clair and Lapeer counties in the Metro Detroit region.

Reps. Shane Hernandez of Port Huron, Pamela Hornberger of Chesterfield Township, Gary Eisen of St. Clair Township and Gary Howell of North Branch noted COVID-19 is significantly less prevalent in St. Clair and Lapeer counties than in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties. St. Clair and Lapeer should be on track for reopening more quickly than the Metro Detroit area, the lawmakers said.

“It’s ridiculous that St. Clair County – with a few hundred confirmed COVID-19 cases – would be placed in the same region as Wayne County, with several thousand COVID-19 cases,” Hernandez said. “The governor needs a new map. This is another sign that she, or her advisory group that suggested the regions, is out of touch with what’s going in different parts of the state when it comes to COVID-19.”

As of Monday, St. Clair County had 304 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while Lapeer County had 164 confirmed cases. Detroit had 8,679 cases, with Wayne County at 7,193, Oakland County at 6,913 and Macomb County at 5,245.

Lapeer and St. Clair counties were included in a nine-county ‘Detroit region’ on the map from the Michigan Economic Recovery Council, whose guidance Gov. Whitmer said will be a consideration as she moves forward with plans to reopen the economy.

“The governor said she is going to be reliant on data as she reopens the economy – well, this is her chance to prove it,” Howell said. “The COVID-19 data indicates Lapeer and Detroit are in significantly different circumstances.”

Hornberger said the governor must work with the Legislature to reopen Michigan in a safe, commonsense fashion.

“The Legislature represents the people – and the people deserve a voice in this process,” Hornberger said. “The governor has been making too many decisions without input from the Legislature, and it’s hurting the people of Michigan who want to safely get back to work.”

Eisen said the governor’s unilateral actions were a factor in the Legislature’s decision to establish the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic. The panel, with membership from both the House and Senate, will provide oversight and accountability on how state government is responding to COVID-19.

“We need answers and information from the governor to find out how decisions like this are being made,” Eisen said. “Putting our small cities and townships in the same boat with Metro Detroit on COVID-19 – it’s not right and it’s not acceptable.”

Submitted by Tim Martin