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Concord, New Hampshire (AP) —This year, three Republican governors opposed efforts to exempt companies from violating public health orders during a coronavirus pandemic. However, ridicule is freed from fines only in the “Live Free or Die” state.
In March, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson rejected a law requiring the state to reimburse the state for a fine of about $ 38,000 imposed on companies for violating coronavirus safety rules, invalidating the veto. The effort has failed.
“The only message sent by this bill is that the rule of law is not important,” Hutchinson said in a letter to legislative leaders. “It is an insult to those citizens who have enthusiastically followed health and safety directives to protect themselves and their fellow Arkansas.”
On July 1, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine also stopped disciplinary action against his fellow Republicans and refused a budget clause that would result in a refund of about $ 100,000. I opposed it.
“Speaking to them, it has no effect on what you did. It would simply be incorrect. It would send a terrifying, terrifying, terrifying message,” Dewin said.
And New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu was similarly insensitive in March, when lawmakers were considering a similar bill.
“We can’t claim to support law and order, and we encourage law violations and reward those who don’t follow the rules,” he said. “Rewarding a small number of people who recklessly disrupted public health and security after outreach and educational attempts allows our economy to remain open for business, while employees It’s a complete disadvantage for thousands of small businesses that have worked tirelessly to keep their workforce and customers safe. “
However, Sununu signed on June 25, as the provision was later incorporated into the state budget and did not veto Ohio’s application information.
“The Governor strongly opposed this provision as an independent item because of the rules and fairness to the myriad of SMEs that helped the state recover from COVID, but the Governor worked to find a compromise. I didn’t mean to reject the $ 13 billion state budget. There is one provision and there is a risk of closing the state government. “
The Attorney General of New Hampshire fined eight companies a total of $ 10,000, but three did not pay and instead appealed for citations. Associate Attorney Anne Edwards said the proceedings were withdrawn in June as the state of emergency ended, the violating rules became invalid, and the appeal ran out of office scarce resources.
She says her office sends checks to five other businesses “to be fair”, but they violate legitimately licensed regulations and must comply with future laws and regulations. He said it would include a reminder letter.
“We support the legal action taken in accordance with these documents,” said Edwards, who said the budgetary rules “raise serious concerns about the separation of powers.”
“If a state files a lawsuit against a law, the legislature has no authority to retroactively change the actions taken by the state, whatever the proceeding.”
David Kalhane, owner of the White Mountain tavern in Lincoln, said 600 of the $ 1,000 fine he received after an investigator said he was found unmasked and customers were sitting side by side in a bar with a mix. The musical performers who said they deeply regret agreeing to pay the dollar were too close together.
“I think it’s unconstitutional, so I wish I had fought harder,” he said.
He is pleased that the fine will be reimbursed, but Sununu believes he and other companies have a public apology.
“It has damaged all of our reputation,” he said. “It had a big negative impact on us.”
Calhein, who plans to run for governor as a libertarian and is considering proceeding, also hopes that other companies will continue to oppose regulations they disagree with.
“I personally encourage anyone who feels that the nation is acting in an unconstitutional way to fight to the fullest extent to protect their rights.”
The biggest fine of $ 2,000 was levied on Hudson’s Fat Cuts Food and Drink for hosting an indoor karaoke event, after which nearly 20 people were virus-positive.
The Loudon Village Country Store was then fined after being warned more than 10 times that workers had to wear masks. The owner did not respond to the request for comment, but previously posted the following sign in the store: We know how to wash our hands, clean the surface and not cough or sneeze. If you can do that and be 6 feet away like someone is drunk, come in !! “
Meanwhile, at the Hopkinton Village Store, 15 miles away, owner Allison Castellot questioned the decision to return money to a company that violated the rules.
“If you were just going to return the money, there was really no purpose in doing those fines anyway. It seems like a strange strategy,” she said.
Castelot said he began requiring customers to wear masks before the state’s obligations came into force, and even if both workers and the general public were lifted, they still require staff to wear masks. ..
“We are fairly regulated. Our kitchens are inspected and our lottery machines are regulated. Under no circumstances will any of these rules be revoked or should be revoked. I don’t think, “she said. “So why choose a rule to reverse just because some people don’t like it?”
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