The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) asked a court on Monday to halt the enforcement of Gov. Tony Evers’ (D-WI) statewide mask mandate and the public health emergency declaration that was extended on Sept. 22.
WILL, a conservative legal group, asked the Polk County Circuit Court to immediately stop the mandate and declaration. Rick Esenberg, WILL president and general counsel member, cited an abuse of executive powers as justification behind the move.
Evers announces public health emergency due to campus outbreaks, extends statewide mask mandateGov. Tony Evers released a statement announcing Wisconsin will be in a state of public health emergency per Executive Order Read…
“This motion for an immediate injunction is a recognition that the executive branch in Wisconsin is, thus far, completely undeterred by the constraints of state law and must be reined in,” Esenberg said to the Wisconsin State Journal.
The governor declared COVID-19 an emergency for the third time Sept. 22 and extended the statewide mask mandate until Nov. 21. WILL argues Wisconsin law prohibits Evers from possessing emergency powers multiple times to address the same issue, according to WJS.
The lawsuit also claims state law prohibits the governor from unanimously extending a public health emergency beyond 60 days. Originally, WILL did not file an immediate injunction to stop Evers’ mask mandate from being enforced, according to WSJ.
Evers’ administration claims the lawsuit is a partisan issue, arguing Republicans are challenging the governor’s efforts to follow safety protocol and science on political grounds, according to WSJ.
Evers spokesperson Britt Cudaback said to WSJ that the governor is trying to contain the spread of COVID-19 and he will continue to use his powers to do so.
“While Republicans ignore the alarming case increases we are seeing across our state, Gov. Evers will continue doing everything he can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin,” Cudaback said to WSJ.
Originally, the mask mandate was set to expire Monday but it was extended after Wisconsin averaged over 2,100 COVID-19 cases per day for the past week.
WILL filed the lawsuit on behalf of one resident of St. Croix County and two residents of Polk County, the latest legal argument concerning Evers’ actions to limit COVID, according to WSJ.
St. Croix County Judge Michael Waterman is scheduled to consider allowing the immediate injunction Oct. 5. Polk County judges have removed themselves from the case to avoid a conflict of interest, according to WSJ.