Counties create own orders after State Supreme Court ruling

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Wisconsin State Supreme Court's decision that struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home Order, has sparked confusion and questions about what will happen next.

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court's decision that struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home Order, has sparked confusion and questions about what will happen next.

While state legislators are drawing up a plan, counties and cities around Wisconsin are issuing their own orders when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NBC15 News asked University of Wisconsin Law School Professor David Schwartz how this is possible.

"There are state statutes that give authority to what they call local health officials, that might be one source,” Schwartz said. “But in addition, the constitution of Wisconsin, as well as several statutes give what's called 'Home Rule Authority,' which is a kind of local government of autonomy to local cities and counties."

Dane, Iowa, Grant, Sauk, Green, Rock, Dodge, Marquette, Columbia, Juneau, Lafayette and Richland Counties all have their own set of rules in response to the decision.

NBC15 News also asked Schwartz if the SCOWIS ruling will serve as a precedent for other states.

“The answer to that is technically no, but practically, maybe so,” Schwartz said. “Technically speaking the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided its case on Wisconsin Law, not the law of other states. There are specific statutes that apply in Wisconsin and not elsewhere that the court thought were decisive in this case, so that’s why technically, it shouldn’t be a precedent in any other state.”

However, Schwartz said based on media headlines rapidly sweeping across the country, other states could block their own stay-at-home orders.

"The legal fine points and technicalities are not part of the headline," Schwartz said. "The thing that people around the country will hear on news reports and news papers is 'Wisconsin says the Stay at Home order is illegal,' so that might encourage other states to follow suit, even if their laws are different."