(The Center Square) – Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol are making the case to rein-in some of Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency powers.
The effort is ultimately doomed, but state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, and Sen. Eric Wimberger, R-Green Bay, are pushing ahead nonetheless.
“Over the past year, we have witnessed a constant struggle between individual liberty and government powers,” Wimberger said in a statement. “While governments do need emergency powers in certain, rare situations, they should be severely limited in duration and scope.”
Gov. Evers issued the first of his emergency coronavirus orders last March, and has kept the state under one restriction or another ever since. When the Wisconsin Supreme Court limited the governor’s powers last May, Evers directed the head of the state’s Department of Health Services to issue new orders.
One plan Wimberger and Sanfelippo are pushing would limit DHS’s power to issue emergency orders by requiring a court hearing within 72 hours. The plan would also stop the governor or DHS from declaring some businesses “essential” and others “nonessential.” The plan also requires one set of rules for businesses, regardless of where they are located or how big they are.
Republican lawmakers have argued for months that Evers is abusing his power when it comes to the state’s coronavirus response.
“It is important to restore legislative oversight so the balance of power prescribed in our constitution is protected,” Sanfelippo said.
Both the Senate and the State Assembly voted in January to override Gov. Evers’ emergency order dealing with masks and crowd restrictions. The governor simply issued a subsequent new order.
The second plan from Wimberger and Sanfelippo deals with that by banning consecutive emergency orders on the same crisis, limiting emergency orders to 30 days, and requiring both a special session of the legislature and the cooperation of two of the state’s four legislative leaders.
The effort is likely doomed because Evers is almost certainly not going to sign a law limiting his powers. Republicans are one vote short of the super-majorities they need to overrule the governor on their own.
Reposted with permission from The Center Square.