State high court considering lawsuit over extension of 'COVID emergency'

Friday, April 24, 2020 @ 10 a.m.

The Brillion News

MADISON - The Wisconsin State Supreme Court is reviewing the petition that the Wisconsin Legislature filed on Tuesday.

The suit challenges how the extension of the Safer at Home order was issued. The main question in the lawsuit is whether Secretary-nominee Andrea Palm of the Department of Health Services - an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat - has broader authority and power than the governor and can exercise it without limit, or public or legislative input, or whether that bureaucrat is bound by the rules process.


The original emergency order, good for 60 days, was issued by Governor Tony Evers. State law requires any extensions to be approved by the legislature. Instead of taking that route, Evers ordered Palm to issue her own order extending the emergency order restrictions untilo the end of May.



The Legislature asked the court for an injunction of the extension but also asked the high court to "stay enforcement of its injunction for a period of six days, to allow DHS sufficient time to promulgate a new emergency rule consistent with Wisconsin law.

That would require the new order to have legisdlative consent.

"Such a stay would fairly accommodate the parties’ mutual interest in preserving the status quo and ensuring no disruption to the State’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 while DHS undertakes steps to comply with all applicable statutes," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. "There’s immense frustration regarding the extension, as it goes beyond the executive branch’s statutory powers. Wisconsinites are forced to sit by with no voice in the process. Other Midwestern states with more confirmed cases, like Ohio, have set firm dates to begin a phased reopening far earlier than the Evers administration."

Vos called the order by Palm illegal and an "unprecedented administrative overreach" that left legislature no choice but to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.

power.

"Wisconsinites deserve certainty, transparency, and a plan to end the constant stream of executive orders that are eroding both the economy and their liberty," Vos said.

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