- August 29, 2021
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Karl Manke, the Owosso-based barber who opened his barbershop despite the stay-at-home executive order, cuts a man's hair during "Operation Haircut" on the lawn of the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. (Mike Mulholland | MLive.com)Mike Mulholland | MLive.com
OWOSSO, MI — The Owosso barber who continued to cut hair despite COVID-19 restrictions issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year is appealing $9,000 in fines issued by the Michigan Board of Barber Examiners just last week.
An attorney for Karl Manke, 77, filed the appeal in Shiawassee Circuit Court Tuesday, April 6, claiming the board acted beyond the scope of its authority or jurisdiction; violated constitutional and statutory requirements; issued its decision without competent, material, and substantial evidence ; and acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
The Board of Barber Examiners voted to fine both Manke and his barbershop — Karl Manke Main St. Barber & Beauty Shop — $4,500 for three sanitation and equipment violations as well as for unlicensed hair cutting at the Michigan Capitol, according to the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
The Michigan Board of Barber Examiners was created by state law in 1980 to regulate the services of barbers, barber students, barber colleges, barber instructors, student instructors and barbershops in the state.
“It is outrageous that the Whitmer Administration continues its vendetta against Karl Manke by imposing $9,000 in fines for having a comb in his pocket and for exercising his First Amendment right to protest the governor’s illegal, unconstitutional and unenforceable executive orders,” David A. Kallman, Manke’s attorney, said in a statement to MLive-The Flint Journal after the fines were issued.
“For the board to impose these fines against Karl for a first offense after a 60 year career with no complaints is evidence of the state’s bias and vindictiveness,” the statement says.
The Journal could not immediately reach a spokeswoman for Whitmer’s office for comment on the appeal on Tuesday, April 7.
Manke reopened his shop for customers on May 4, 2020 in defiance of an executive order issued by Whitmer that closed barber shops, salons and other “non-essential” businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19.
After Manke’s license was suspended due to the barber’s violation of the order, he “engaged in barbering on the front steps of the Michigan State Capitol, which is not a licensed premises,” according to a complaint by the state Department of Attorney General’s Licensing and Regulation Division on behalf of LARA.
In October, two misdemeanor criminal violations against Manke for violating Whitmer’s executive orders were dropped by the Shiawassee County prosecutor after the state Supreme Court ruled in October that the governor does not have the authority under state law to continue a state of emergency without the support of the Legislature.
“I am happy that we are finally in a court that can rule on, and uphold, my constitutional rights. I am not a health threat to anyone, and my barbershop has not been a source of the spread of this virus. I just want to safely earn a living and have my rights respected,” Manke said in a statement issued by Kallman’s office. “The courts have consistently upheld my constitutional rights affirming that the governor’s attempts to shut me down were out of line, and I trust we will prevail in court once again.”
Owosso barber fined $9,000 for haircuts at Michigan Capitol, other violations
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Michigan Supreme Court sides with Owosso barber, sends case back to lower court
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