Evers says GOP lawmakers are 'exploiting a global pandemic' in lawsuit challenging stay-at-home

FILE - In this June 20, 2019, file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is surrounded by Democratic...
FILE - In this June 20, 2019, file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is surrounded by Democratic lawmakers and members of his Cabinet at a Capitol news conference in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says gun control measures being pushed by Evers are ineffective and "very unlikely" to be taken up by the Legislature. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer, File)(NBC15)
Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 8:24 PM CDT
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In a

, Gov. Tony Evers called Republican lawmakers' attempt to sue him over the stay-at-home extension "a shameful response" that would "have us jump through hoop after hoop and ask for their permission to save lives. Folks, we don’t have time. COVID-19 will not wait."

Earlier that day, the Republican-controlled legislature

, challenging the extended stay-at-home order the governor issued last week.

In the suit filed Tuesday, GOP leaders argue that the stay-at-home order is "eroding both the economy and their liberty even as the state is clearly seeing a decline in COVID infections," according to a statement issued by Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).

But Gov. Evers contends in his statement posted to social media several hours later that the extension was issued in order to make sure the number of cases continues to decline, and not rebound. The governor adds in his statement that believes their lawsuit may strive to accomplish other objectives.

"Republicans are exploiting a global pandemic to further their attempts to undermine the will of the people. But what’s at stake goes far beyond political power--lives are on the line," according to the governor.

Evers continues to say that "Today’s action by legislative Republicans during a crisis is a shameful response by people elected to protect and serve the people of our state. It is a disservice to those we represent, those who are struggling in this crisis, and the economy we will need to rebuild together," according to his statement.

In their statement issued earlier that day, Republican Speaker Vos and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald argued that “The governor has denied the people a voice through this unprecedented administrative overreach. Unfortunately, that leaves the legislature no choice but to ask the Supreme Court to rein in this obvious abuse of power."

Gov. Evers extended the 'Safer at Home' order to May 26, which closes all non-essential businesses, bans public gatherings and cancels schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

On Monday, Evers announced the

, laying out how Wisconsin will gradually lift the stay-at-home order and reopen the economy.