In the complaint, lawmakers argue that if this order remains in effect, “many Wisconsinites will have lost their jobs, and many companies will have gone under, to say nothing of the Order’s countless other downstream societal effects. Our State will be in shambles.”
Wisconsin GOP lawmakers argued in their lawsuit that Palm’s order “irreparably harmed the Legislature by depriving it” of exercising its oversight duties.
They also argue that the order is “unlawful,” exceeds the department’s authority, and is “arbitrary and capricious” because the state agency “failed to provide any reasoned basis for discriminating between ‘essential’ and ‘nonessential’ businesses.”
The lawsuit filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court seeks a temporary injunction against the order and a six-day stay so that a new emergency rule can be drawn up that’s “consistent with Wisconsin law.”
“DHS could (and should) immediately start working with the Legislature to devise and issue a lawful emergency rule, while the Legislature also pursues legislation that will help Wisconsin comprehensively respond to this pandemic in a way that balances the need to protect public health with the necessity of opening Wisconsin as soon as possible,” the lawmakers argued.
“Apparently, instead of having us act quickly and decisively to respond to a crisis, Republicans would rather have us jump through hoop after hoop and ask for their permission to save lives. Folks, we don’t have time. COVID-19 will not wait,” Evers wrote.
After filing their lawsuit, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald claimed Tuesday that there’s “immense frustration regarding the extension” of the order and that Evers “has denied the people a voice through this unprecedented administrative overreach.”
“Wisconsinites deserve certainty, transparency, and a plan to end the constant stream of executive orders that are eroding both the economy and their liberty even as the state is clearly seeing a decline in COVID infections.”
Wisconsin Democrats argued that the health crisis “will only get worse if we end Safer at Home before it’s safe to.”
“These steps will help us reduce the risk of a second wave of the virus,” Palm said in her announcement of the extension. “If we open up too soon, we risk overwhelming our hospitals and requiring more drastic physical distancing measures again.”
Wisconsin golf courses will be allowed to open again, and public libraries and arts and crafts stores may offer curbside pickup. The state’s public and private K-12 schools, however, will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits in Wisconsin was over 313,000 between March 15 and April 6, according to the Department of Workforce Development.
CNN’s Joe Sutton and Konstantin Toropin contributed to this report.