Wisconsin’s GOP legislature fought and won the battle to give local authorities control of the pandemic response. Now that cases are rising and local authorities are attempting to use that control to curb outbreaks, the GOP is making their original intent clear.
In striking down Governor Tony Evers’ “Safer-at-Home” order, the idea was never simply to cede control to regional governments, as opponents claimed. Now that regional governments need the authority to actually fight the virus, they’re getting the same pushback that Evers faced.
From initial reporting in Urban Milwaukee, when the original “Safer-at-Home” order was struck down on May 13th, many localities followed up with variations of their own, but Wisconsin quickly became a patchwork quilt that left many residents ill-informed. Local governments weren’t given the time to put robust systems in place or educate residents on what the new rules would be.
Now it’s been more than a month since Evers’ order was lifted, and many of the county orders that were put in place “have expired or been rescinded. [And] as the number of daily cases rises again across the country — and in some parts of Wisconsin — county boards across the state are attempting to pass ordinances codifying their powers to control a local outbreak of the disease.”
The word “attempting” is critical here. Even though localities were given the authority to pass their own ordinances, those who fought Evers’ ruling have been hard at work pushing down new orders across the state: “Republican legislators, the right-leaning think tank the MacIver Institute and conservative media personalities including radio host Vicki McKenna, have been stirring up residents on social media against their county boards and the “overreach” by supposedly tyrannical bureaucrats in local health departments.”
The recent uptick in cases across Wisconsin has been pronounced and undeniable, so it’s not without reason that counties and municipalities are attempting to mitigate risk of an outbreak in their own towns.
You can read more about the ongoing dispute between local authorities and those attempting to dilute their power here.