News: Public Health

St. Croix Court Ruling on Emergency Declaration and Mask Mandate

Tuesday, October 13, 2020  
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A Wisconsin judge on Monday blocked an effort by Republicans to end Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate at a time when coronavirus cases are surging and hospitalizations reached a record.  

The conservative group that brought the lawsuit promised to immediately appeal, and Republicans who control the Legislature took an initial step Monday to eliminate a separate COVID-19 order from Evers that limits business occupancy.

St. Croix County Circuit Judge R. Michael Waterman denied a request by those who sued to suspend the mask requirement and ruled the governor has the power to issue multiple health emergency orders in response to the same pandemic.

Republican lawmakers hired private attorneys to go to court to support the effort to eliminate the mask requirement instead of taking a vote just weeks before an election to end the order. 

View the full story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Here.

In follow up, yesterday the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) met regarding Emergency Order #3, which limits capacity in indoor, public spaces. The order was made by DHS Secretary-designee Palm at the direction of Governor Evers. 

JCRAR co-chairs Sen. Steve Nass and Rep. Joan Ballweg called the meeting after interpreting the order as rulemaking. According to the co-chairs, the order falls within the policy set by the Supreme Court in Legislature v Palm that DHS must seek approval of the committee when setting emergency rulemaking. As such, JCRAR voted on party lines to require DHS to present the committee with an emergency rule in the next 30 days. This would allow the legislature, through JCRAR, to have oversight of the policy and potentially block it altogether.

At this point of writing, there has been no statement from DHS on its plans for submitting an emergency rule to the committee. 

In addition, this letter was sent from Gov. Evers to Vos and Fitzgerald requesting a meeting to figure out an ongoing plan.


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