Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Statewide Mask Mandate
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday morning that Governor Tony Evers did not have the authority to extend the state's public health emergency including the mask mandate without the support of the Wisconsin legislature. The suit was filed in October from Wisconsin Republican Lawmakers and the ruling came on March 31 from the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision. The current mandate will now expire on Monday.
While this ruling affects the statewide mandate, local and community mandates are still in place. Multiple organizations opposed the repeal of the mask mandate including hospital workers, first responders, schools, health departments, businesses, tribal leaders, and more.
WISN TV reports that the suit was brought by Wisconsin Republican donor Jere Fabick. Fabick donated $20,000 to Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley in 2016, and in total has contributed $350,000 to conservative candidates since 1994.
This isn't the first time Governor Evers has faced opposition in his public health emergency attempts in the last year. In October he attempted to limit capacity in bars and restaurants, but that was stopped by a Wisconsin appeals court. In May he issued a stay at home order but that also was overturned.
Meanwhile in the State of Wisconsin there have been over 635,000 cases of COVID-19 statewide since the beginning of the pandemic. On March 30, 2021 there were 861 new cases of COVID-19. 7,293 Wisconsinites have died from the illness. Vaccine efforts have ramped up in the state and nearly 3 million doses have been administered. Over one million people have been fully vaccinated. Vaccine eligibility is opening up to everyone age 16 and older in Wisconsin on Monday, April 5.