Federal lawsuit challenges local stay-at-home orders

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MADISON, Wis. — Seventeen Wisconsin residents, including one of the organizers of a “reopen Wisconsin” protest last month at the state Capitol, have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that local stay-at-home orders are unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in Milwaukee.

It challenges the local orders that took effect after the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week tossed Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide “safer at home” order as unconstitutional.

The new lawsuit names 21 state and local Wisconsin public safety and health officials, including Evers and all members of the state elections commission, as defendants.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi responded to the lawsuit in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“COVID-19 has claimed nearly 500 lives in our state and 94,000 across this country in just a couple of months,” said Parisi. “This pandemic is the greatest threat to the public health and safety of families this generation will experience. We will vigorously defend common sense provisions based on public health guidance to protect the well-being of the residents of Dane County. We do not want to become the next large community consumed by the ravages of this highly contagious, debilitating virus.”