WISCONSIN — Reactions to Governor Tony Evers Emergency Order requiring masks came fast and furious: Republican lawmakers vowing to challenge it, and law enforcement chiefs across the state saying they wouldn’t enforce it.
Republican State Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald released a statement that said the issue should be up to local municipalities and that the order itself was open to legal challenges.
Fitzgerald added, “I’m also gauging the interest of my caucus when it comes to voting down the order – the Legislature should be reconvening to look at this.”
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Governor Evers said he expected the challenges.
“I know folks are worried the order I am issuing today to keep people healthy and safe, will immediately be challenged by Republicans in court. I know folks are worried another ruling will create chaos. I'm worried about that too” said the Governor.
Representative Adam Neylon, a Republican from Pewaukee also said he believes masks are a local issue and a one size fits all approach isn’t needed.
Neylon said “I do know we can do legislation, a resolution to oppose this and I think that’s what we should do. I think that’s what we need to do.”
Representative Shelia Stubbs, a Democrat from Madison supported the governor’s order.
“I applaud Governor Evers' decision to implement a statewide mask mandate. This pandemic does not know municipal lines or county lines. It is important that we have a statewide, cohesive approach to stopping the spread of COVID-19” said Stubbs.
Enforcement of the mask mandate could become an issue. Several law enforcement agencies across the state have said they will not enforce it.
Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said he thinks the order is on shaky legal ground and his department doesn’t have the staffing to enforce it.
Schmidt added, “…we are asking that you NOT contact the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office to report incidents where someone is not wearing a mask. Dodge County Sheriff’s Deputies will not be responding to or investigating these incidents"
The Emergency Order for masks goes into effect Saturday, August 1, and lasts until September 28 or whenever another order is issued.