Gov. Tony Evers got a legal victory Monday.

St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge R. Michael Waterman denied the suit brought by three area individuals over Evers’ mask mandate. 

Derek Lindo, Balsam Lake, Brandon Widiker, Amery and John Kraft, Roberts, filed suit in August, in Polk County Circuit Court, challenging the legality of 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 Sept. 28. Gov. Evers has since extended that order through November. 

They were arguing, “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.  

In his three-page ruling, Waterman opined, “plaintiffs in this case don’t ask to preserve the status quo; they ask to change it.

“They counter that the 60-day limit becomes meaningless if the governor can declare successive states of emergency for the same crisis. That’s incorrect. 

“The plaintiffs are three private citizens, who are seeking redress for injuries they have suffered from Executive Order 90. Their requested injunction goes well beyond their private interests, though. If granted, the temporary injunction will affect every person in Wisconsin by a judicial act that usurps the governor’s power to declare a state of emergency and the legislature’s power to end one. The legislature can end the state of emergency at anytime, but so far, it has declined to do so.” 

Waterman was assigned the case after the Polk County Judges, Daniel Tolan and Jeffery Anderson, excused them. 

The trio was represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. In a statements, its President, Rick Esenberg, stated “It is with regret that the Judge held that the Governor of the State of Wisconsin can rule the state by decree for an unlimited amount of time with the acquiescence of the legislature

“We look forward to making an appeal on this critical constitutional matter.” 

In his statement, Gov. Evers, said, “Today’s ruling is a victory in our fight against COVID-19 and our efforts to keep the people of Wisconsin safe and healthy during this unprecedented crisis.

 “As the number of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin reached 150,000 yesterday, we will continue doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus. We ask Wisconsinites to please stay home as much as possible, limit travel and going to public gatherings, and wear a mask whenever out and about.”

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