State Supreme Court rules 4-3 to overturn Safer at Home extension

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Gov. Tony Evers and the Department of Health Services secretary overstepped their constitutional authority in extending the Safer at Home to May 26.

Consequently, it appears there is no statewide restriction in effect on COVID-19 related measures such as business closings and public gatherings, other than what local governments may enact.

Any further statewide restriction would have to come through a collaboraitve effort involving the state Legislature.

More coverage of the ruling is available here from Madison 365 and jsonline.

Dr. Jen Freiheit, Kenosha County health officer, urged residents to be cautious despite the absence of a valid statewide stay at home order.

“Please do not overreact,” Frieheit said in her weekly COVID-19 teleconference to the Kenosha County Board. “Wait for our guidance.”

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman, whose district includes most of Western Kenosha County, made the following statement via email about the decision:

“The Court decision today provides the state with the opportunity to work collaboratively to find its way forward from the upheaval of lives and livelihoods that has resulted from the Administration’s stay-at-home order. We must continue to ensure our healthcare system will not be overwhelmed while relying on data-based means to allow all businesses and our favorite places to safely and responsibly reopen.”

State Sen. Van Wanggaard, whose district includes most of Western Kenosha County, made the following statement via email regarding the decision:

Today’s decision is a victory for all who believe that the power to dictate how people live and to punish them with jail time does not belong with a single, unelected bureaucrat, no matter how good their intentions. And that is what this case was about. I’ve often said ‘You can’t legislate common sense.’ But that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t use common sense. If you’re sick, or have a compromised immune system, stay home and wear a mask if you go out. If a business wants to require customers to wear masks to keep others safe or limit their own capacity, that’s their right. And it’s the right of the customer to go elsewhere if they feel it’s inappropriate. The WEDC has issued guidelines for reopened businesses, and I encourage people to review them. Hysteria, name calling and bullying, which seems inevitable these days on any issue, won’t get
Wisconsin back to normal. Politeness, using your head, and time hopefully will do so.”

UPDATE — The Kenosha County health officer has ordered a stay at home order here until May 26.

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