Wisconsin Supreme Court

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The future of Wisconsin’s “safer at home” order that sets to run until May 26 was at stake Tuesday in a case brought by Republican lawmakers being heard by the conservative-controlled state Supreme Court.

The case seeks to block the stay-at-home order issued last month by Evers’ health department secretary as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has infected more than 8,200 people in the state and killed 340. The order, issued under powers of the state health secretary to deal with outbreaks of communicable diseases, closed most nonessential businesses.

Republicans argued that Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm exceeded her authority with the order. They are asking the court to block it and issue a six-day stay to give the Legislature time to work with Palm and health officials on a rule that would be enacted with approval of the Legislature.

Evers argues that state law clearly gives the executive branch broad authority to quickly enact emergency measures to control communicable diseases. Attorney General Josh Kaul also noted that Evers’ order was similar to that in at least 42 other states and has saved many lives.

The arguments Tuesday came the day after Evers met with Republican and Democratic legislative leaders to discuss the next steps in combating COVID-19.