Judge sides with Gov. Evers, Wisconsin mask mandate remains.

Emergency Order #1 was Wisconsin’s first state-wide mask mandate that began on Aug. 1, 2020. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Author: Jessica Gregory

Circuit Court Judge R. Michael Waterman determined that Gov. Evers’ Emergency Order #90 mandating masks indoors would not be overturned. 

The lawsuit was between Plaintiffs representing the Institute of Law and Liberty (R) against Defendant Gov. Tony Evers (D). 

Had St. Croix County circuit Judge Waterman approved a temporary injunction as demanded by the Plaintiff, Emergency Order #90 would have ended along with the public health emergency as the case waits for a ruling, reports the Wisconsin State Journal.

Public health emergency orders made by the Governor last for 60 days but are subject to extensions. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued that by renewing health orders, Gov. Evers is surpassing his statutory authority. Evers counters that the statute does not prohibit renewals, especially when the same public health crisis is ongoing.

Judge Waterman sided with Gov. Evers, maintaining that the 60 day limit to emergency orders assists legislative officials’ decision-making abilities during times of crisis. 

“When an executive order ends after 60 days, it forces the governor, before issuing another order, to reexamine the situation and publicly identify existing, present-day facts and circumstances that constitute a public health emergency,” Waterman said.

This morning Gov. Evers released a statement calling the ruling a “victory”.

“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,” Evers said.

Read the full Circuit Court ruling here.