by Dan McCaleb
A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ extended safer at home order Wednesday, siding with Republicans who claimed the governor overstepped his authority when his administration extended restrictions on individuals and businesses through May 26.
In the 4-3 decision, all but one of the court’s conservative members ruled that the Evers’ administration does not have the legal power to continuously extend restrictions in the name of trying to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Evers initially issued an executive order on March 18 that closed schools and businesses deemed nonessential, and required residents to stay home accept to perform essential services. The order was set to expire April 24, but Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm extended it to May 26.
Republicans concerned about the impact on the state’s economy filed suit to block the extension, and asked the state’s Supreme Court to quickly take up the case.
The court heard arguments last week. Its Wednesday decision leaves the safer at home order in place for six days, until May 20, while the legislature works out new guidelines.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said this week that the state legislature wants to reopen Wisconsin businesses and get people back to work.