It appears Wisconsin’s mask mandate may be headed to the courts to be decided.
Hours after the State Assembly passed Senate Joint Resolution 3 on Thursday, Feb. 4 to revoke Executive Order #104 and declare it unlawful and terminated upon signature of the presiding officers of the Legislature, Governor Tony Evers issued a new order to keep the mask mandate in place.
By law, a governor’s authority to declare an emergency is limited to 60 days unless extended by the Legislature. An executive order declaring a state of emergency can be revoked through a legislative joint resolution.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) released the following statement:
“Governor Evers has abused his limited authority for far too long by repeatedly issuing unlawful orders beyond his 60-day emergency powers. The Assembly and Senate voted to end the executive overreach and restore our constituents’ voice in the legislative process.
“The resolution will take effect upon joint signature of the presiding officers of both chambers. The resolution will be signed on Friday (Feb. 5).”
But Evers did not even wait for signatures to reach that resolution before he extended the mask mandate.
LeMahieu said, “Now that the Legislature has affirmatively exercised our authority under Chapter 323 to revoke the overreach of executive emergency powers, we urge the Supreme Court of Wisconsin to end this constitutional crisis.
“As we told the court in November, even if the Legislature revoked the governor’s illegal renewal of his 60-day state of emergency, the question would remain just as relevant and urgent because we believed he would simply issue another extension. That has now come to pass.
“The People of Wisconsin can no longer be subjected to confusing, unilateral decrees without basis in statute. We must reinstate the rule of law, uphold separation of powers, and restore confidence in our system of government.
“The Legislature has done our part to stop this lawlessness. Only a court can stop a governor bent on ignoring the law.”