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Wisconsin High Court Deals Blow to Gov. Evers

His extension of the state's stay-at-home order is struck down
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2020 6:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order Wednesday, ruling that his administration overstepped its authority when it extended the mandate for another month without consulting legislators, the AP reports. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers' administration overstepped its authority when it extended the governor's stay-at-home order through the end of May, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The 4-3 ruling marks a defeat for Evers as Republican legislators, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and with the aid of the conservative-controlled high court, continue to chip away at the Democratic governor’s powers. Evers issued a stay-at-home order in March that closed schools and nonessential businesses.

The closures battered the state economy, but Evers argued they were necessary to slow the virus' spread. The order was supposed to lift April 24, but Health and Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm, an Evers appointee, extended it to May 26. Republicans asked the Supreme Court to block the extension, arguing that Palm exceeded her authority because the extension amounted to an administrative rule, requiring legislative approval. Evers' administration countered that state law clearly gives the executive branch broad authority to quickly enact emergency measures to control communicable diseases. Attorney General Josh Kaul also noted that Evers' order was similar to that in at least 42 other states and has saved many lives.

(Read more Wisconsin stories.)

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