(The Center Square) – Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol on Wednesday said they intend to force Gov. Tony Evers’ latest coronavirus order through the legislature’s rules committee.
Evers rule would limits bars, restaurants and most stores to just 25% of their capacity.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said involving the legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules is a way for the governor and his Department of Health Services to work together.
“We are asking Secretary-Designee Palm to submit an emergency rule immediately to the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules as required by law,” Vos said. “The governor and secretary-designee may have good intentions but they’re disregarding the law as set forth in the state Supreme Court ruling, Legislature v. Palm. We are confident that if challenged, a Wisconsin judge would find this order invalid as an unpromulgated rule.”
In that case, the state Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Evers’ emergency powers lasted 60 days, after that he had to go to the legislature to continue any emergency orders. The high court ruled on the case back in May. Since then, Gov. Evers has issued three more emergency orders connected to the coronavirus. His order to limit crowds is just the latest.
State Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, on Wednesday took it one step further. He said lawmakers need to push the governor’s new order through the legislature in order to gut it and/or scuttle it all together.
“Emergency Order #3 is not enforceable in its current form and would become less so if JCRAR acts to require the Evers Administration follow state law and submit an emergency rule,” Nass said. “I intend to present a motion for a vote in the JCRAR that would legally require the DHS to comply with state law.”
Nass said that JCRAR has the power to suspend all provisions or parts of any emergency rule issued by a state agency.
But that might not provide instant relief for bars, restaurants and stores. Nass added that DHS would have 30 days to respond to whatever action JCARR takes on the governor's order.
Gov. Evers order took effect Thursday morning.