Residents of St. Croix County may be facing a new round of “Stay-at-Home” lockdowns as sources within the County indicate that Corporation Counsel Scott Cox is drafting a new County ordinance to “give some teeth” to the recently released HHS guidelines. The County Dept. of Health and Human Services issued its own Health Advisory shortly after the State Supreme Court ruled that the Governor’s “Safer-at-Home” order, issued as rule #28, was unenforceable.
One day after Gov. Evers claimed to have “given up” on advancing any additional Statewide restrictions, the heavily Democrat influenced St. Croix County board appears to be implementing a local version of what the Governor could not accomplish through executive order. County Boards have the authority to create local law, which unlike Evers’ attempt to exceed his administrative authority is binding and enforceable. It’s simply a different approach to achieve the same goal.
The Governor has not given up on keeping businesses and citizens locked down, he’s only changed his strategy to leverage the power of individual County Boards to do so.
The County HHS Dept. largely adopted and republished guidelines published by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in cooperation with the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services and its “Safer-at-Home” and “Badger Bounceback” plans promoted by Gov. Evers.
Following the the Supreme Court ruling, as businesses across the County rapidly began reopening in order to stay in business, some County Supervisors, and a few vocal citizens, expressed concerns that the County is not doing enough to protect its citizens, and that there needs to be more “teeth” added to the HHS guidelines.
Sources say that the ordinance currently under draft will impose punitive, civil, and possibly criminal penalties for violating the guidelines previously published in the HHS “Advisory”. Interestingly, St. Croix County is not the only county trading in orders issued by the Health Department for Ordinances created by the Board which are binding as law, but it is among the first to actively start to do so.
Upon completion of the Ordinance being drafted by St. Croix Corp Counsel, County Administrator Pat Thompson has the authority under the County’s Emergency declaration to take the matter directly to an Emergency Meeting of the full County Board called by Chairman Dave Peterson, where it would be promptly voted on and likely passed. This could happen within a matter of days, since the Board is required to provide only 48 hours of advance notice to the public before holding the meeting. Alternatively, Chairman Peterson could put the item on the agenda for discussion and vote at the upcoming June regular meeting, which is scheduled for June 2nd at 5:00pm.
To express your opinion on these matters, contact:
County Board Chairman
1299 County Road J
River Falls, WI 54022
County Board Vice-Chair
2530 County Road North
Woodville, WI 54028
You may also want to contact your District Supervisor, who you can find listed on the St. Croix County website.