Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Brown County voters asked about authority of health officer on Nov. ballot


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – The facility of well being officers has come into query a number of occasions throughout this pandemic in counties throughout the state.

Now, a referendum question in Brown County is asking the neighborhood if the regulation ought to be modified to permit for extra oversight in the case of closing companies.

Brown County Supervisor John Van Dyke has seen the drama play out on the state degree, as Governor Tony Evers’ administration faces lawsuit after lawsuit over its authority to challenge emergency orders to fight the coronavirus.

“If each one among these choices has to finish up within the courts, then for my part now we have an issue with the legal guidelines,” mentioned Van Dyke.

That’s why he introduced ahead the non-binding referendum query on the November poll.

The Brown County poll asks: “Ought to Wisconsin State Statutes be amended to supply County Board of Supervisors with a mechanism to approve or overturn any actions taken by County Well being Officers that impose county vast restrictions on residents and/or companies, or that require county vast closure of companies?”

“I believe a few of the frustrations by constituents was that the county board might do one thing. and in actuality we actually can’t primarily based on the best way the statute is written,” mentioned Van Dyke.

The county well being officer is allowed to do what’s “cheap and needed” to suppress a illness, in line with state statutes, and may shut down a enterprise on a person degree; however an overarching order is totally different.

“With a broad order, we appear to not have the enforcement skill, in order that’s the place we would want an ordinance or one thing else handed to provide that enforcement skill,” mentioned Brown County Well being Officer, Anna Destree.

Destree says she has considerations about timing if she did want county board approval to behave.

“I believe the place the chance is, that if there’s a time when quick motion is required, that would probably put it in danger,” mentioned Destree.

Outcomes could be taken to state lawmakers, however wouldn’t immediately change any legal guidelines at the moment in place. A sure vote helps additional oversight on the well being officer, whereas a no vote would make no modifications to the statute.

If the regulation had been to be modified, it will not take away any authority to behave or decide.

“That is actually sort of subsequent to that. As soon as these actions happen, then the County Board must determine in the event that they even wished to evaluation that call and in the event that they do, they’ve the flexibility to uphold it, and have the flexibility to rescind it, is mainly the best way it’s structured,” mentioned Van Dyke.

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