Statement: Wisconsin governor tries to sidestep legislature, PLF bill would restore constitutionality to emergency powers
February 05, 2021
February 5, 2021: Within an hour of the Wisconsin Legislature ending Gov. Tony Evers emergency order through the proscribed legislative procedure, the governor reissued the same emergency order on Thursday. Wisconsin law provides that emergency orders cannot extend past 60 days and allows the legislature to end emergency orders by joint resolution.
“While the governor’s recycled emergency order is dubious at best, the Wisconsin Legislature and other state legislatures across the country should squash governors’ legal gymnastics by expressly prohibiting governors from issuing the same or substantially similar orders that expired or were disapproved by the legislature,” said Joe Luppino-Esposito, Pacific Legal Foundation’s deputy legal policy director. “Governors have been ruling unilaterally for nearly ten months using emergency powers. The Wisconsin Legislature went through the legal process to take its constitutional responsibility to make policy in response to COVID-19. The governor’s attempt to retain unilateral power should be rejected.”
PLF is working with state legislatures to place safeguards on executive emergency powers. Those safeguards include:
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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.
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