Felzkowski: Republican lawsuit challenged Palm’s authority to implement order, not order itself
Representative also discusses reopening of businesses amid COVID-19 pandemic
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor
WISCONSIN – In a phone interview with the Tomahawk Leader on Thursday, May 14, Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) explained the reasoning behind Republicans in the State Legislature suing to block Governor Tony Evers’ administration’s extension of the Safer at Home order, and expressed her support for the order being stricken down.
“First off, I think it’s important to people to understand that we were not challenging the actual order. We were challenging Andrea Palm’s authority to make that order, whether she had any constitutional authority to do that, which she did not,” Felzkowski said. “The Supreme Court said she should have gone through the rules process. So it was kind of our way to uphold the law.”
Felzkowski explained that although the Safer at Home order is no longer in place and businesses can now open, county public health agencies can put their own orders in place, “if they felt it was necessary.” She said she had spoken to public health officials and hospitals in the area to see if they believed such orders should be implemented.
“I haven’t had anyone yet tell me, ‘Yes,’” Felzkowski stated. “I don’t see those coming in our area, but it is always something that could happen.”
Felzkowski noted that county health departments have the authority to take action, such as shutting down businesses that are deemed “hot spots,” in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 or other diseases. She added that the State Assembly and Senate have proposed aiding local public health departments to “reinforce what they’re doing, and fill the needs that maybe they can’t fill on their own.”
“And then, let’s put an emergency rule out for that … so if something happens down the road, we would be more prepared, and we would have the backup in place to actually take care of that,” Felzkowski said.
Felzkowski said she is “okay” with the Safer at Home order no longer being in place, pointing to businesses in the community practicing social distancing and implementing other measures to keep customers safe.
“We just have to keep remembering that this affects everybody differently,” Felzkowski stated. “Everybody has their own set of circumstances. Hold the judgment back. If someone is afraid, don’t judge them. Let them be afraid. That’s their comfort zone. If someone’s not afraid, don’t judge them. I think we’re all over the board on this. Personal responsibility’s going to come into play here. If you don’t feel comfortable walking through that door to go into the bank, or into that retail store because you think there’s too many people in there, then don’t. Wait until you feel comfortable to do it, but don’t judge others that do feel comfortable doing it. I think that’s kind of where we’re at with all this.”