Court could rule to block Wisconsin's 'Safer at Home' order as early as April 30
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau says Gov Evers' administration is overstepping authority by extending the state "safer at home" order without legislation.
“We’re saying no no no," Fitzgerald said. "This is the rulemaking process that the legislature has utilized for hundreds of years.”
Fitzgerald said too much authority is in the hands of Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm to unilaterally decide what to shut down in the state, and for how long.
Evers called the lawsuit a "shameful" power grab from Republicans, noting that it focuses only on giving legislators more authority in the process, without actually detailing a plan to keep Wisconsinites safe from coronavirus. The governor said Tuesday the lawsuit signals to the 4,600 people in the state who have contracted COVID-19, and the families of the 242 people who have died, that Republican leadership doesn't care about them.
“Legislative Republicans frankly have said that the people of Wisconsin, that power, our political power is more important than your health,” Evers said in a call with reporters Tuesday.
Fitzgerald said Republicans don’t want the entire order gone, but they want a more limited scope and input on major decisions like shutting down schools. They asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to stay the order for six days if they deside to rule it unconstitutional, which would give lawmakers time to work on a new plan with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
“We have constituents too," Fitzgerald said. "And they are not going to be happy if the governor shuts down schools in the fall, and were standing here saying sorry folks we’re powerless.”
Fitzgerald says rural areas opening up could help the state support urban areas that do need to be shut down.
“Let the Wisconsin Dells open up, so they can help Milwaukee when it comes to the revenue streams," Fitzgerald said. "Let northern Wisconsin, where they’re not seeing any deaths, or COVID numbers are so low.”
The entire process of DHS responding the lawsuit, the Republican response to that challenge, and all third party arguments, must be submitted to the Wisconsin Supreme Court by April 30. From there, the decision is in the hands of the conservative-controlled court.