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Conservative law group urges high court to nix Dane Co. mask mandate

Woman wearing a face mask
Woman wearing a face mask(AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb, File)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 4:28 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A conservative law group is pushing the Wisconsin Supreme Court to block the Dane County health department’s new county-wide mask mandate.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed an original action with the state high court on Wednesday, challenging the order it describes as “draconian” on behalf of Dane County resident Bryant Stempski.

The group states that the state Supreme Court’s recent decision in James v. Heinrich found that Public Health Madison & Dane County Director Janel Heinrich violated the law when she ordered all Dane Co. schools to close for in-person learning last fall.

WILL Deputy Counsel Dan Lennington stated that the previous court opinions have decided public health officers do not have unlimited authority.

“Dane County’s health officer, simply put, doesn’t have the power to order universal masking, or anything else, without express legal authority,” said Lennington.

A spokesperson for PHMDC stated they are “confident” in their order Wednesday.

We are confident that our Face Covering Order is legal under the statute. We will not comment further on pending litigation.

PHMDC

The group wants the Court to issue an injunction on the order. It also wants a review of the authority Dane Co. health officers have to issue such mandates and determine whether it is lawful to do so.

We are confident that our Face Covering Order is legal under the statute. We will not comment further on pending litigation.

The new order covers everyone over the age of two-years-old and goes into effect on Thursday. People will be required to wear a face covering or mask when in an enclosed building with other people who are not members of their household or living unit. The order will remain in effect until at least Sept. 16.

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