Three individuals filed a lawsuit in Polk County Circuit Court Aug. 25 against Gov. Tony Evers’ order over the mask mandate.
Derek Lindo, Balsam Lake, Brandon Widiker, Amery and John Kraft, Roberts, are named as the plaintiffs.
According to the complaint, they are challenging the legality of Gov. Evers’ executive order on July 30, which called for a state of emergency that required masks to be worn in all public settings. The order went into effect August 1 and was set to expire September 28.
Evers issued a previous public health emergency on March 12 relating to COVID-19.
The lawsuit states, “by law, that original state of emergency – and the powers associated with it – expired 60 days after it was issued, and can only be extended by the joint resolution of the Legislature”, which didn’t occur.
“It is not even about whether there can ever be a mask mandate,” the suit continues. “This case is about: (1) whether a Governor may extend an emergency past the 60-day statutory time limit without legislative approval, and (2) whether a Governor may sequentially declare consecutive public health emergencies for the same underlying public health crisis.”
The plaintiffs are arguing they’ve been harmed because the order is unlawful, Wisconsin has had to spend taxpayer money to enforce the mandate and to deploy the National Guard to conduct coronavirus testing and to man polling places amid a shortage of workers.
Among their facts supporting their request to void the order:
• COVID-19 has affected different parts of the state differently. As a result, the Legislature has not extended Evers’ first public health emergency or imposed other statewide mandates.
• COVID-19 has not greatly impacted Polk County. As of August 24, only 156 out of the 75,231 confirmed cases in Wisconsin are from Polk County, which is a fraction of the statewide average.
The plaintiffs are represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a law firm based out of Milwaukee.
Court records show the case was assigned to Polk County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Tolan. Evers has 45 days to respond from when the case was filed.
The Sun attempted to get a comment from Gov. Evers’ press office, but received no response before this week’s print deadline.