Wisconsin Legislature asks state Supreme Court to suspend Safer at Home, court gives DHS 1 week to respond

MADISON, Wis. — Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced Tuesday that the Wisconsin Legislature is pursuing legal action against Gov. Tony Evers’ extension of the Safer at Home order.

The Republican leaders asked the state Supreme Court to block an extension of the Democratic governor’s stay-at-home order. The lawsuit was expected after Evers’ health secretary Andrea Palm last week ordered nonessential businesses to remain closed until May 26.

The state Supreme Court announced Tuesday afternoon that DHS officials have until 4 p.m. on April 28 to file a response to the Legislature’s petition and motion.

“The public outcry over the Safer at Home order continues to increase as positive COVID cases decrease or remain flat. There’s immense frustration regarding the extension, as it goes beyond the executive branch’s statutory powers,” Vos and Fitzgerald said in a joint statement. “Wisconsinites are forced to sit by with no voice in the process. Other Midwestern states with more confirmed cases, like Ohio, have set firm dates to begin a phased reopening far earlier than the Evers administration.”

Evers responded to the lawsuit in a call with reporters, calling the move a “political power grab.”

“Legislative Republicans, they’re telling 4,600 plus people in the state of Wisconsin who have contracted COVID-19 and the families of those 242 people that have died, we don’t care about you,” he said. “We care about our political power.”

In recent days, some demonstrators have voiced concerns over Evers’ extension of the order saying the month-long extension would harm small businesses throughout the state.

On Monday, Evers released a detailed plan with criteria that he said must be met before the state’s economy can safely reopen.