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Wisconsin Republicans sue governor over stay-at-home order

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican leaders of the Wisconsin Legislature are asking the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to block an order from Gov. Tony Evers' administration extending a stay-at-home order until May 26.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald asked the Supreme Court to take the case directly, a move that would skip lower courts and get a final ruling sooner.

Evers on Thursday announced that he was directing state Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm to extend the order closing most nonessential businesses from April 24 to May 26.

Gov. Evers responds

In response to the lawsuit, the governor said, "This power grab by the legislative Republicans are telling those 4,000 plus, 4,600 plus people in the state of Wisconsin who have contracted COVID-19, and the families of those 242 people that have died, 'we don't care about you, we care about political power.'"

Republicans said the governor doesn't have the power to extend the Safer at Home order past the emergency declaration, which expires in early May.

Shifting the conversation

State Republicans are now hoping to shift the conversation toward reopening the state.

"While we continue to deal with this pandemic caused by COVID-19 we also have to have a conversation about the next steps of making sure we reopen our economy as safely as possible. Because if we go another 30 or 60 days of having everything shutdown, we are not going to have an economy to return to," said State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point).

Testin, however, did not give a date republicans are aiming to reopen the economy by, but said they plan to use the president's guidelines in their conversations moving forward.

In a statement, State Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) said, "Wisconsin Republicans are moving forward with a politically motivated lawsuit, but not a plan to safely reopen the economy."

The Evers administration said the Badger Bounce Back plan, released on Monday, addresses the interests of the entire state.