The Wisconsin Legislature has filed a lawsuit in the Wisconsin Supreme Court against the extension of Governor Tony Evers’ “Safer-at-Home” order until May 26 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Legislature respectfully suggests that this Court 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,” the suit says in its conclusion.
“The public outcry over the Safer at Home order continues to increase as positive COVID cases decrease or remain flat. There’s immense frustration regarding the extension, as it goes beyond the executive branch’s statutory powers,” said Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, according to TMJ4 News.
“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.”
Four days after the extension, Evers came out with the “Badger Bounce Back” plan to give guidelines as to when many businesses would re-open.
“I accept that the biggest Republican in the country, his plan…it’s a rational plan. If the state Republicans don’t think Donald Trump’s plan is appropriate, they can deal with Donald Trump,” said Governor Tony Evers on WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi Show Tuesday about the Badger Bounce Back plan.
“It uses metrics to determine how we’re doing, metrics that are nationally accepted…from the CDC and the White House. It was developed by people who have been monitoring this for a long, long time. I feel confident about the plan.”
Rick Esenberg, a conservative legal expert and the President and General Counsel of the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty, gives what he claims is the basis for such a possible legal challenge.
Esenberg told WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi Show Friday that Governor Evers owns the power to declare a public health emergency for 60 days. The current extension moves it to 62 days – May 26, but the state legislature can revoke the current declaration as well.
“That power is subject to limitations. When the Governor declares a public health emergency, it can only last for 60 days. It has a shelf life. At any time during that 60 days, the legislature can pass a joint resolution (that) doesn’t have to be signed by the governor…which eliminates the public health emergency,” said Esenberg.
“The only way that the public health emergency can exist beyond the 60 days is by joint resolution by the legislature,” he says.
“The legislature has to agree, ‘Yes, there is a public health emergency. Yes, we are going to let you extend it past 60 days.’ “