Moss, Johnson aim to strengthen price gouging law as state faces first coronavirus cases

Legislation would ban gouging on essential items during state of emergency

LANSING — Sens. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Ruth Johnson (R-Holly) introduced legislation today to ensure Michigan residents are protected from price gouging during a health emergency as the first presumptive-positive cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Michigan. 

These cases prompted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency late Tuesday night.

“No one in Michigan should be profiteering off of this global health crisis,” Sen. Moss said. “About 30 other states have laws that protect vulnerable people from being exploited during a state of emergency. Now that cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in southeast Michigan, we need the same tools that other states have to go after unscrupulous individuals who gouge the prices of emergency supplies.”

The three-bill package would prohibit an individual or business from pricing an essential good or service with an unjustified disparity of more than 10% its price preceding, during, and reasonably after the state of emergency. 

“This is a time to come together, not to take advantage of one another,” Sen. Johnson said. “One of our greatest strengths as Americans, and as humans, is to pull together in times of crisis and help each other. Unfortunately, there are some who instead seek excessive personal financial gain and that is unacceptable.”

Items protected from price gouging under the proposal would include food, emergency and medical supplies, housing and lodging, and gasoline and propane.

In addition to a public health threat, like Michigan’s current state of emergency surrounding coronavirus, the bills would also define an emergency as:


Sen. Moss represents the 11th Senate District in Southern Oakland County that includes Farmington, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge City, Royal Oak Township and Southfield. 

Sen. Johnson represents the 14th Senate District that includes parts of Genesee County (Atlas Twp., Davison, Davison Twp., Fenton, Grand Blanc, Grand Blanc Twp., and Mundy Twp.) and Oakland County (Brandon Twp., Fenton, Groveland Twp., Highland Twp., Holly Twp., Lake Angelus, Rose Twp., Springfield Twp., and Waterford Twp.).

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