Suing to stop Dane Co. stay-at-home order: “Every part of my life has been impacted”

DANE CO., Wis (WMTV) - More than a dozen Wisconsinites claim local stay-at-home orders, including the one in Dane County , that took effect after the Wisconsin Supreme Court toss the statewide order are unconstitutional.

One of those people filing suit is Verona resident Paul Driftmier, Sr.

“Every part of my life has been impacted by this,” he said.

He said public officials are overstepping their authority and ultimately violating people’s rights.

“To tell me how to be safe, or to make my risk calculations for me- they are here to support my freedom to do those things,” he said.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Milwaukee. It names 21 state and local Wisconsin public safety and health officials, including Gov. Tony Evers and all members of the state elections commission, as defendants.

“They lost their first amendment rights, they lost their right to work, their right to worship, the right to gather, they lost the right to assemble. And in Dane County, largely those rights are still taken away,” said the attorney representing those filing suit, Joe Voiland.

Driftmier said his photography business is at a standstill, and his life has been put on hold.

“They are hurting me financially, they are hurting me morally and ethically by forcing me with the police power of the state, forcing me to do things that I would not otherwise do,” he said.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway called the lawsuit “disappointing.”

“I understand that people are frustrated. I understand that we are all suffering economically, and that we really want to get the economy open as soon as possible. But, we have to do it in a way that follows the data,” she said.

Ryan Nilsestuen, Evers’ attorney, said Thursday that he was confident the new lawsuit will “go nowhere.”

Voiland said many more people want to join in on their lawsuit. Driftmier said he believes people should be able to make their own health decisions.

“I think everybody is their own best advocate for their health, their safety, the precautions they need to take personally,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report