Michigan Governor Urged To Lift Non-Essential Ad Restrictions

A recent Michigan order that prohibits large retailers from advertising non-essential items “almost certainly” violates the constitution, the Association of National Advertisers contends.

The ad ban -- part of a broader initiative aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 -- was issued Thursday by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and is slated to last through the end of the month. 

Among other restrictions, the order prohibits all non-essential travel, and requires stores larger than 50,000 square feet to close down sections that sell certain home goods, including furniture, carpets, plants and paint.

The order also prohibits stores larger than 50,000 feet from advertising or promoting any goods other than “groceries, medical supplies, or items that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and basic operation of residences.”

The ANA, which is calling on Whitmer to rescind the order, says it likely violates the First Amendment as well as a constitutional principle that prohibits states from regulating interstate commerce.

The group offers several reasons why the order may be invalid, including that Whitmer didn't give a reason for differentiating between stores with 50,000 square feet and smaller ones, and didn't spell out the types of items that are “necessary.”

“The ban might limit the ability of a large retailer to advertise that it has in stock fabric for use in making face masks,” the ANA writes.

The group adds the ban will harm media outlets because it would “would undermine their capacities and limit the economic support for the programming they carry.”

7 comments about "Michigan Governor Urged To Lift Non-Essential Ad Restrictions".
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  1. Tanya Gazdik from MediaPost, April 14, 2020 at 8:51 p.m.

    Has the ANA seen Michigan's COVID-19 case numbers and death count? We are third highest in the country. For the record, you can order non-essential items for delivery or curbside pickup, she's just trying to keep down foot traffic. 

  2. Charles Pierce from Private, April 15, 2020 at 7:55 a.m.

    1) It is unconstitutional to order people to stay at home and not travel. Would violate the 5th amendment (".... nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."). In this case liberty is about travel. In a free society, we have different morals and types of behaviour influence versus using the point of a gun to restrict liberty.

    2) Restricting advertising is subject to 1st amendment when a government imposes restrictions on speech, including commercial speech (ads).


  3. Tom Gray from WCMH, April 15, 2020 at 1:48 p.m.

    This governor has done an absolute horrific job with Michigan having more cases than California and three times the number than neighboring Ohio!  There's likely many more cases since they've only tested around 80,000, well below most states.  She was well behind governors in other states with her stay at home order, now she's overcompensating by trying to cover her own butt.  Issuing stay at home orders is necessary, but trampling on the rights of your residents and business owners will have long term consequenses beyond this pandemic.  Many of her decisions are nonsensical, like the one above. 

  4. Tanya Gazdik from MediaPost replied, April 15, 2020 at 1:59 p.m.

    We are third highest in the country in part because the vast majority of our workers are in manufaturing plants which should have been closed sooner. That's on the CEOs, not the governor. They didn't have to wait for her stay-at-home order. We also have a huge minority population in Detroit/Wayne County and there have been several stories about how minorities are being hit harder by the virus than non-minoritites for a variety of reasons. The vast majority of Michiganders support what the governor is doing. There is a Facebook group of 63,000 residents that literally sprang up overnight in support of her actions. 

  5. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited replied, April 15, 2020 at 2:13 p.m.

    #1. It is not a forever decision. The sooner everyone gets on board, the sooner they will be released. #2. No one has the liberty to infect other people. Should an infected person who has delibertly oppose the governor's direction for safety been denied medical help if they will not pay for it ? Or will you happily pick up that tab ? If you are infected and infect others because you will not stay home or delibertely congregate or get in others faces, are you complicit in their pain, death and medical and familial costs ? Driving the get away car in crime makes you guilty with a price to pay.

  6. Charles Pierce from Private replied, April 15, 2020 at 2:37 p.m.

    For Paula and Tanya:

    People do have the right to infect others, but not maliciously. Prior to Covid, the CDC statistics (online, you can google them) showed that 18,000 to 45,000 people have died of the Flu since October, 2019.  If you were in a crowd since October, 2019, then you possibly had the risk of spreading the Flu.

    Restricting people to their house has no legal basis. It would be like if the Governor said State Police could shoot people dead if they left their property...the request to tell someone they can't move from a confined space (legal akin to kidnapping someone...holding them hostage in a confined area) has the same legal authority as a more extreme, made-up "order" by an elected Governor. Or, a President.

    In a democratic, free society, we have to depend on upholding our laws that make us supposedly different from authoratarian governments. If one believes laws and freedoms are only for expediency, it basically makes our country less democratic, and not too different from China or other authoritarian states. The upside is that as Americans, we have the freedom to make the right decisions and agree to stay home, restrict travel, and help our neighbors and strangers.



  7. Tom Gray from WCMH replied, April 15, 2020 at 5:07 p.m.

    Tanya - the state of Ohio has many manufacturing facilities as well, our governor issued the stay at home order a full week before Michigan and we have a little over 7,000 cases.  The city of Cleveland has a huge minority population and has nowhere near the number of infections as Detroit. And it is absolutely the job of the governor, and for the CEOs to be compliant.  How can you support such mishandling of this by the governor of Mich?  Our great governor was one of the first to issue the stay at home orders and without infringing on our religious rights, plus kept many businesses open responsibly.  Why would you shut down landscaping companies??  She's utterly clueless...

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