Wednesday, March 31, 2021

As COVID numbers rise again, Wis Supreme Court strikes down mask mandate

You may have heard of the big story out of the Capitol building today.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked Democratic Gov. Tony Evers from issuing any new public health emergency orders to mandate face masks without the approval of the Republican-controlled state Legislature.

In a 4-3 decision, conservative justices in the majority declared the statewide mask mandate invalid and ruled Evers exceeded his authority in issuing multiple emergency declarations over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Evers used the emergency orders to require face coverings be worn indoors statewide after lawmakers opted not to.

"The question in this case is not whether the Governor acted wisely; it is whether he acted lawfully. We conclude he did not," Justice Brian Hagedorn, writing for the conservative majority, said.

State law says governors may issue health emergencies for 60 days at which point the Legislature must approve an extension. Evers has argued he may issue new emergencies without their approval because the pandemic's threat has changed, similar to emergency declarations over separate flooding events in the same river.

Hagedorn said state law governing public health emergencies "must be read to forbid the governor from proclaiming repeated states of emergency for the same enabling condition absent legislative approval."
So basically the 4-person GOP majority is saying that Evers couldn’t do anything past 60 days if the Legislature didn’t allow the state’s health emergency to continue. And even if circumstances change and the COVID outbreak becomes more severe, somehow it’s considered the same situation as when the emergency was put in place several months prior?

And this ruling comes at a bad time, as Wisconsin is following many other states in seeing COVID cases go back on the rise in recent weeks. The 7-day average of new COVID cases in Wisconsin has risen from 371 3 weeks ago to 470 today. In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released each county’s trends over the last two weeks, and there are now twice as many counties that have a statistically significant increase (8) than those that are significantly shrinking (4).

The numbers in St. Croix County are especially concerning to me. That county has seen its new cases more than double in the last 2 weeks, and now has the 3rd highest rate of new COVID infections in Wisconsin in that time, at 229 cases per 100,000 (behind Green County (290) and Door County (253). St. Croix County is also home to a sizable amount of commuters into the Twin Cities, and Minnesota is getting three times the cases of Wisconsin these days.

The other reason St. Croix County worries me is that it just hosted a town hall from the area’s Congressman, who was spewing this line of "reasoning." And hjere's more from Rep. Tiffany on COVID.
Tiffany made several false claims in his discussion of vaccines. Scientific data shows young people can be infected and spread the virus, but Tiffany claimed Monday they are "largely not susceptible to coronavirus." It is true that younger people are less likely than older people to experience serious health complications from the disease, but it is still possible. And in Wisconsin, two dozen people under the age of 30 have died from the virus….

And Tiffany's statements about advising his daughters, ages 22, 21 and 17, against getting vaccinated are in direct contradiction to state and federal public health guidance.

"Think about this practically," Tiffany said, recounting his conversation with them. "You really are not under that much of a threat as a result of this virus, and I'm not sure why you would go and take a vaccine as a result of that."

That goes against messages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state Department of Health Services and medical professionals. They advise everyone to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. On Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Tony Evers announced that all Wisconsinites ages 16 and older would become eligible as of April 5.

And now the Wisconsin Supreme Court has allowed Tiffany’s former colleagues in the Legislature to decide what kind of response the state will/won't have in regards to this still-ongoing pandemic. Wonderful.

And the GOP Supreme Court “justices” didn’t answer a simple question – “What should happen in case the gerrymandered GOP Legislature chooses to do nothing and goes on a 9 ½ paid vacation?"

Much like so many other items in this state, the WisGOPs in the Legislature want all the power, but they don’t want to do anything with that power. Well, outside of causing the state government’s response to be dysfunctional, which would allow them to blame Evers for things going bad, and increase their chances of getting more power in 2022. What happens to the quality of life for everyone else in the state? WisGOP doesn’t care. They likely never have.

Ignore them, mask up, and do your part in finishing off this plague.

1 comment:

  1. I am withholding all political and electoral support for Wisconsin Democrats at all levels of government.

    This action starts with opposing Gov Tony Evers (D), Attorney General Joshua Kaul (D), U.S. Rep Mark Pocan (D), and all Democrats down to any
    state, county and municipal candidates who are silent on the wrongful convictions of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, and so
    many others languishing behind bars, ruining and preventing their lives.

    Evers can free these innocent men with a stroke of a pen. Kaul can seek to vacate wrongful convictions with a court filing (that I could write in
    my sleep).