Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers just issued a new statewide mask order an hour after the GOP-controlled General Assembly had voted to repeal his previous mandate, saying he didn’t have the authority to exert unlawful powers and abuse his limited authority.
The governor released a video message talking about how his priority was about keeping people safe. “If the Legislature keeps playing politics and we don’t keep wearing masks, we’re going to see more preventable deaths, and it’s going to take even longer to get our state and our economy back on track,” Evers said.
GOP members argued that Evers could not issue unlawful orders, such as requiring masks in private businesses, beyond his 60-day emergency powers. The original repeal of Evers’ mask mandate passed 52-42 in the General Assembly. Then the governor defied the Legislature by issuing a new order, which would force the Legislature to vote again if they want to repeal that.
“Tony Evers is now an openly lawless governor clearly in violation of his oath of office and his duty to comply with the rule of law. I will be immediately drafting another senate joint resolution to end the Evers Emergency Declaration issued on February 4, 2021. I will also be calling on Senate leadership to consider filing for an emergency action in the Wisconsin Supreme Court,” said State Sen. Steve Nass.
Other high-profile politicians like Republican Majority Leader Jim Steineke have also warned Gov. Evers that this wasn’t an issue about masks, but whether he could legally issue multiple emergency health orders during the pandemic.
They insist he must secure their approval every 60 days instead of just issuing multiple orders and mask mandates whenever there is a changing nature of the pandemic. He has issued multiple orders based on the evidence of “more contagious strains of the COVID-19 virus” found.
Republicans have agreed to a more limited mask mandate in places that are more susceptible to transmission of the virus, like health care facilities, nursing homes, mass transit, state government buildings, assisted living facilities, public schools, universities, and prisons. There’s only a handful of studies linking mask mandates to case numbers and the evidence is still inadequate.
Members of the Assembly also passed a bill that would prohibit the closure of churches during the pandemic and bar employers from requiring workers to get vaccinated for the disease. Gov. Evers has not said whether he would sign the bill.
Democrats continue to say that they are “following the science” but never go about telling us what this science is, specifically. The left can’t just cherry-pick from one or two studies to justify orders that are destroying families and businesses nationwide.