MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate, ruling the Democrat exceeded his authority by issuing the order.
The 4-3 ruling from the conservative-controlled court is the latest legal blow to attempts by Evers to control the novel coronavirus. It comes after Republicans in the legislature voted to repeal the mask mandate in February, only to see Evers quickly re-issue it.
The court last May struck down Evers’ “safer at home” order, saying that his health secretary didn’t have the authority for such an order. Evers’ attempts to limit capacity in bars, restaurants and other indoor places were also blocked by a state appeals court in October.
In the latest case, the court ruled that any public health emergency issued by Evers is valid for just 60 days and can’t be extended without legislative approval.
Evers had argued that he can issue multiple health emergencies because of the changing nature of the ongoing pandemic. The mask order first took effect in August and Evers extended it four times since then, most recently on Feb. 4.