Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns mask mandate | WisCommunity

Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns mask mandate

March 31, 2021 - 10:31am
 Governor Tony Evers
Governor Tony Evers

This morning the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the state-wide mask mandate in Wisconsin was implemented illegally by the governor. This ruling both ends the current mask mandate and prevents the governor from implementing a new one when the current mandate expires on April 

The court ruled 4-3 on the case, with swing voter Brian Hagedorn siding with the conservative judges on the court. The Governor's legal team had argued that the power to make emergency rules for health reasons resides in the executive branch, and that the Governor has the right to extend those mandates as needed. The opposition lawyers argued that the Governor may not extend the initial order, and that the power to do that rests in the state legislature. Wisconsin law only allows the Governor to issue health orders for 60 days, after which the legislature has the power to extend them. 

As things stand, the only way the mask mandate will remain in place is if the state legislature acts to extend it. The ruling does not keep local public health officials from implementing health rules of their own,  and it is likely that some municipalities will implement their own mandates. Eau Clare and Eau Claire County have already implemented a mandate to take place if the state-wide mandate ends.

This morning Governor Evers released a statement saying "Since the beginning of this pandemic, I’ve worked to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe, and I’ve trusted the science and public health experts to guide our decision making. Our fight against COVID-19 isn’t over—while we work to get folks vaccinated as quickly as we can, we know wearing a mask saves lives, and we still need Wisconsinites to mask up so we can beat this virus and bounce back from this pandemic.”

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Steve Hanson
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