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Supreme Court Throws Out Evers’ Safer At Home Extension

In a decision released late Wednesday, the state Supreme Court struck down the extension of Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order.

The state can open immediately, but counties or municipalities appear to be able to make their own rules extending the order locally.

The administration of Gov. Tony Evers had extended the statewide order through May 26 during the COVID-19 outbreak. Republican lawmakers sued over the move, saying it exceeded the administration’s legal authority to act.

Four conservative justices provided the majority in the 4-3 decision.

The decision will force Evers to work with a Republican legislature to navigate a response to the virus outbreak. Lawmakers can now block Evers from taking unilateral, statewide action.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Pat Roggensack wrote “Emergency Order 28 is declared unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable.”

That’s the order extending Safer at Home until May 26.

The Supreme Court ruled the state Department of Health Services should have issued restrictions through the traditional rulemaking process, which is slower than issuing emergency orders, but gives lawmakers influence in the procedure.

Ben worked as the Special Topics Correspondent at WXPR from September 2019 until November 2021. He now contributes occasionally to WXPR. During his full-time employment, his main focus was reporting on environment and natural resources issues in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula as part of The Stream, a weekly series.
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