Washington County
Press Release

Washington County Files Amicus Brief with State Supreme Court on “Safer at Home” Order

County argues local control is required by state law

By - Apr 30th, 2020 04:04 pm

West Bend, WI – Yesterday, Washington County filed an amicus brief with the Wisconsin State Supreme Court in support of the Legislature’s request to enjoin the extended safer at home order. In the brief, the county argues for the ability to utilize local control to best fight the pandemic at the local level.

County Executive Josh Schoemann released the following statements:

Under state law, it is the duty of local health departments to manage public health emergencies. Washington County, through a successful joint public health department, is capable of controlling the pandemic. The state should be supporting locals not indefinitely usurping our local control.

The time is now for the state to allow county governments, who are better equipped to monitor our local issues, to do our jobs. In any emergency, the boots on the ground can adapt much quicker and effectively than Madison or Washington, DC. We need collaborative guidance from state officials and then local autonomy.

It is unfortunate that the response to COVID-19 has become political warfare. Our involvement with this litigation is to ensure each county has the ability to respond to the pandemic in a way that fits for our citizens.

In close cooperation with Washington Ozaukee Public Health Officer Kirsten Johnson and Sheriff Marty Schulteis, the Washington County has been a leader in our pandemic response. From robust contract tracing to releasing outbreak information on a dashboard to presenting a Blueprint to Reopen, Washington County leaders have shown our willingness to balance the public health crisis and the economic crisis, while respecting individual liberty.

COVID-19 presents different challenges for each of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work in the long term. Wisconsin’s public health and economic well-being depends on local leaders stepping up. Our brief balances local public health policy and the preservation of our constitutional rights.

Check www.co.washington.wi.us/coronavirus for up-to-date information on the pandemic.

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2 thoughts on “Washington County Files Amicus Brief with State Supreme Court on “Safer at Home” Order”

  1. Barb- West Bend says:

    County Executive Josh Schoemann:

    What is the population of Washington County?
    How many Washington County residents have been tested for Covid-19?
    How many tested positive?
    How many are currently quarantined?
    How many have been hospitalized?
    How many have died?
    Why are doctors canceling in-patients visits if all is safe?
    Who financially/politically supported the gun toting libertarians who were not wearing face masks, gloves or social distancing when protesting the “safer at home order) at the capitol in Madison?
    Will these be the same dudes coughing in our faces as they run around town enjoying their freedom to infect others?
    What percentage of Washington County residents are over 60, which makes them more vulnerable to this virus…leading to complications that may end in death?

  2. TransitRider says:

    If Washington County opens stores and restaurants, but Milwaukee County doesn’t, won’t most customers of those stores and restaurants be from Milwaukee County? So even if Washington County isn’t a hotspot today, won’t reopening it make it one soon?

    Or does Washington County’s idea of “local control“ include the right to exclude residents of “closed” counties? And if Milwaukee County residents are to be excluded, how? Do they plan to card people at the door or run their license plates (and will you do that for all patrons, or only non-white ones)?

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