POLK COUNTY — On Monday, a Polk County Circuit Court judge has denied the request to block Gov. Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate.
A lawsuit was brought against the state by the group Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. It said the mandate was unconstitutional.
Part of the issue in the lawsuit was about Gov. Evers' ability to declare successive state's of emergencies. However the court ruled, "The 60-day limit (the amount of time a state of emergency can last) provides an important check against run-away executive power, but it does not prevent the governor from issuing a new executive order when the emergency conditions continue to exist. And, if the legislature is unconvinced that a state of emergency does exist, the legislature has the ultimate power to terminate it."
The court went on to say that, "The legislature can end the state of emergency at anytime, but so far, it has declined to do so," and that the "legislatures inaction is relevant and it weighs against judicial intervention especially when requested intervention will have statewide impact."
In other words, the court said the Republican controlled legislature has the opportunity to overrule the decision but hasn't done so yet.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said they plan on appealing the decision.
"It is with regret that the Judge held that the Governor of the State of Wisconsin can rule the state by decree for an unlimited amount of time with the acquiescence of the legislature. We look forward to making an appeal on this critical constitutional matter."
You can read the full ruling here:
Following the ruling, Attorney General Josh Kaul issued a statement saying, “Today’s ruling is the right one. Wisconsin currently faces one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation, and the mask requirement is a critical protection against the ongoing danger that the coronavirus poses to Wisconsinites’ health. I encourage legislative Republicans to stop supporting this attack on the mask requirement and instead to work with Governor Evers to adopt statewide policies that will allow us to more effectively to fight the virus and keep Wisconsinites safe.”
Evers also released a statement saying in part, "As the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin reached 150,000 yesterday, we will continue doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus. We ask Wisconsinites to please stay home as much as possible, limit travel and going to public gatherings, and wear a mask whenever out and about.”
In a letter Monday, Gov. Evers urged Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to meet with him in person to discuss Wisconsin's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Although I was disappointed you did not respond to my request for a meeting in June this summer, I have appreciated our one-on-one conversations since then," Evers wrote in the letter.
"One thing is certain: now is not the time to weaken our state’s response to this virus; now is the time to strengthen it," according to Evers.
Read that letter here: