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News & Press: Legislative Issues

WI Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Legislature v Palm

Wednesday, May 13, 2020  
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The Wisconsin State Supreme Court just issued its ruling in the case of Legislature v Palm. The Court ruled that Secretary-designee Palm did not have the singular authority to extend the Safer at Home order to May 26. The Court said the action required emergency rulemaking procedure, which was not executed by the Department. In short, the Court has struck down the extension of the Safer at Home order. 

On May 5, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the legislature's challenge against DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm's Emergency Order #28 issued on April 16. The order extended the Safer at Home order to May 26 and effectively keeps closed businesses considered non-essential and bans large gatherings.

At the heart of the issue is whether or not DHS can extend the Safer at Home order beyond May 11. Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency in March. By law, such declarations expire after 60 days. In this specific instance, the expiration date is May 11. 

However, Emergency Order #28, issued by Palm, extends the Safer at Home order two weeks beyond the expiration date. Palm and DHS cited statute 252.02 as providing the department the authority to take actions to combat outbreaks of communicable disease outside the confines of a 60 day public health emergency declaration. Republican legislative leaders disagreed with the interpretation of that statute and filed a challenge in the State Supreme Court.

We continue to investigate what this means for businesses that wish to reopen. That remains unclear at this time. With the order no longer in effect, the administration and legislature will look to adapt the state's response policies. We will continue to provide updates as they are available. 

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