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Today I voted to end the mask mandate in Wisconsin with SJR 3. We are now almost 10 months into a series of emergency declarations, under which our representative republic has been suspended, and laws have been written and enforced under the authority of a single man. I also voted on an AB1 that ensures FoodShare and unemployment funding will continue to be available for Wisconsinites.

A state of emergency (or emergency powers) is a circumstance when a government is authorized to make rules that it normally wouldn’t be allowed to create, in order to protect its citizens. This usually occurs during natural disasters, civil unrest and pandemics. In Wisconsin, these powers cannot exceed 60 days, unless the legislature passes a joint resolution to extend it. The emergency order that was first issued on March 17, 2020 has been well over 60 days. Since that time (325 days) the governor has issued four successive, unlawful orders.

Our forefathers set up three co-equal branches of government - executive, legislative and judiciary - to represent the people. Emergency powers should not be used to indefinitely ignore our system of government. Enough is enough and we cannot let Governor Evers continue to disregard Wisconsin law.

This is not just about the mask mandate; it's about Governor Evers’ abuse of his emergency powers. I am not an anti-masker. I believe in the personal responsibility each of us has to keep ourselves safe, tempered with the fact that our own immune systems have so much to do with how our bodies react to Covid-19.

I have always believed that the most efficient and effective response to the Covid-19 pandemic should be done on a regional level. Each county has differing numbers of Covid-19 cases and circumstances. Why should Milwaukee County with 95,255 cases be treated the same as Florence County with 426 cases? It doesn’t make sense. Municipalities have always had the power to enforce their own mask mandates, as Milwaukee and Dane counties have done, and that will not change. Schools, businesses and churches will also continue to have the ability to put their own mask mandates in place. I consider this vote as an invitation that any additional health orders go through a promulgated rules process involving the legislature.

Representative Janel Brandtjen
State Capitol, Room 12 West
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

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