Wisconsin residents sue governor over mask mandate
A conservative legal firm on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to throw out Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) public health emergency and statewide mask requirement.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed the lawsuit on behalf of three residents of northwestern Wisconsin. President and general counsel Rick Esenberg said the firm was seeking to challenge Evers’s authority to impose a mask mandate.
“This lawsuit is about our system of government and the rule of law,” Esenberg said in a statement, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Governor Evers cannot seize these time-limited emergency powers more than once without legislative approval.”
The lawsuit alleges that Evers’s new public health emergency was illegal because it covers the same threat as a now-expired March order, and that the governor unlawfully seeks to declare new emergencies for the same pandemic.
Evers’s public health emergency expired by law after 60 days when the state legislature did not vote to extend it. He declared a new one in July.
“At no time has the number of daily infections dipped significantly below the number that existed at expiration of the original state of emergency — a time at which the Governor was arguing for continued extraordinary restrictions,” it states.
Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback called the lawsuit a GOP attempt to “prevent the governor from keeping Wisconsinites healthy and safe.”
“From safer at home to the April election and now masks, they’ve filed more lawsuits than they have passed bills during this pandemic,” she added, according to the newspaper.
Wisconsin Republicans have previously brought successful lawsuits against Evers’ stay-at-home order and his postponement of the April 7 election.
Evers imposed the mask mandate starting Aug. 1 after an uptick in cases, which made Wisconsin the 32nd state with such a mandate. It is set to run through September and applies to almost all indoor activities.