MADISON, WI – Today State Rep. Dave Armstrong (R-Rice Lake) joined his Assembly colleagues in voting to concur in Senate Joint Resolution 3, which ends Gov. Tony Evers’ most recent declaration of a state public health emergency. The joint resolution also terminates the Governor’s actions and orders related to the emergency, including the statewide mask mandate.
“Wisconsin law clearly states that an emergency declaration may last no longer than 60 days unless the Legislature votes to extend the state of emergency,” Representative Armstrong explained. “Governor Evers issued his first emergency declaration last March. That order expired in May. However, since July, the Governor has issued new emergency declarations every two months – all based on the COVID-19 pandemic, not “new” emergencies. I believe these continuous end-runs around legislative oversight are an unacceptable overreach in violation of his statutory powers, which is why I voted for SJR 3.
“SJR 3 is not about whether masks are good or bad, effective or ineffective - it's about whether the Governor and his agencies can ignore Wisconsin's laws,” Representative Armstrong continued. “Even though SJR 3 ends the state of emergency, as well as the Governor’s emergency powers, I joined my Assembly Republican colleagues in a letter to the Governor, asking him to work with the Legislature to develop reasonable health and safety measures through the legitimate rule-making process. But even if Governor Evers again declines to work with the Legislature, Wisconsin residents are still free to wear masks if they choose to do so, and I trust people to act safely and responsibly.”
Representative Armstrong also voted to approve an amendment to Assembly Bill 1 that allows the Governor to declare a COVID-related public health emergency if necessary to obtain federal COVID funding. The amendment otherwise limits the Governor’s emergency powers during such a state of emergency. Assembly Bill 1 must now go to the Senate for further consideration.