MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers’ administration on Monday withdrew its outline for a new emergency rule to manage the coronavirus pandemic after it came under attack by Republicans.
State Department of Health Services officials notified state Senate President Roger Roth and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in a letter that they had withdrawn the rule’s scope statement from consideration. The letter didn’t offer any explanation. Scope statements are the first step toward promulgating a rule and are broad outlines of what the rule would do.
The DHS released the scope statement Thursday, a day after the state Supreme Court struck down Evers’ stay-at-home order. The statement said the rule could “re-articulate” parts of that order.
Republican state Sen. Steve Nass, co-chairman of the Legislature’s rules committee, demanded on Friday that the DHS withdraw the scope statement, saying the administration was trying to get around the state Supreme Court ruling and to re-implement the stay-at-home order. The rules committee has the final say on whether an emergency rule can take effect.
“This is an important development for the citizens of Wisconsin desiring a path forward that recognizes both a need to utilize lawful approaches in protecting the public health and rebuilding our seriously damaged economy,” Nass said in a statement. “I have great faith in the people of Wisconsin making the decisions necessary to fight and defeat COVID-19 without excessive government coercion.”
The state Supreme Court ruling has led local health officials to impose their own stay-at-home orders, creating a patchwork of varying regulations across the state.
It wasn’t immediately clear what Evers might do next. His spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, didn’t immediately respond to messages.