State Supreme Court Overturns Governor Evers' 'Safer at Home' Order

Governor Tony Evers. Image courtesy: Wisconsin Radio Netowrk.
Governor Tony Evers. Image courtesy: Wisconsin Radio Netowrk.
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MADISON, WI (WTAQ-WSAU) -- The state supreme court has overturned Governor Tony Evers' 'Safer at Home' order.

The 4-3 ruling came down Wednesday evening, and says DHS Secretary Andrea Palm overstepped her authority in issuing parts of the order.

The court declared the extension of the order until May 26th was "unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable".

The Supreme Court ruled against granting the 6 day stay Republicans had requested. Republicans had asked for the pause to give themselves time to work with the Evers Administration on a replacement solution. The Judges countered by saying the two sides have had weeks to come up with a plan. Republicans have not offered an alternative.

With no alternative to Safer at Home in place, all businesses are now allowed to reopen without restrictions if they so choose. Residents are also allowed to flow in and out of businesses as they please.

Local jurisdictions can still set their own guidelines and restrictions. Within minutes of the high court's ruling, Milwaukee and Madison imposed many of the same restrictions in the Safer at Home order. Those areas, along with Green Bay, have been some of the hardest hit by the Coronavirus and the disease associated with it, COVID-19.

Wisconsin's Manufacturing and Commerce group has proposed a plan that would allow certain businesses to open in phases. That would roll out based on metrics such as how likely a business is to facilitate spread of the virus, how many cases have been reported in an area, and the capacity of the regional healthcare system.

"We're gratified that the Supreme Court says that the governor overstepped his authority and needs to include the legislature in anything that impacts nearly 6 million people in the state, so we’re happy to see that they ruled on our side on that," said Assembly Republican Jim Steineke.

"We haven’t seen any plans from the Republicans, it’s been the most frustrating part, they keep talking about how unhappy they are with the governor’s plan and yet they haven’t really presented a plan of their own and so hopefully we see a plan from them. What I really do hope is that they will work with us to figure out how to reopen in a way that is safe," Assembly Democrat Amanda Stuck said.

State Senator Dan Feyen (R-Fond Du Lac) said in a press release that the legislature is reviewing all options and will be releasing details on a reopening plan very soon.

It's not clear whether or not the decision means the Governor's order will be lifted immediately. The Tavern League of Wisconsin immediately posted the news on Facebook, saying their members could open their business by following WEDC guidelines.

You can read the full decision here.

Evers said his office would have a new scope statement on handling COVID-19 by Thursday morning. The GOP says it will also have a reopening proposal in the next 24 hours.


WSAU's Mike Leischner contributed to this report