Wisconsin Legislature v. PalmAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that Andrea Palm's order confining all people to their homes, forbidding travel, and closing businesses in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus (Emergency Order 28) was unenforceable because the order was a rule, and Palm did not follow statutory emergency rule making procedures established by the Legislature.
On March 12, 2020, Governor Tony Evers issued Executive Order 72 proclaiming that a public health emergency existed in Wisconsin and directed DHS to take "all necessary and appropriate measures" to prevent incidents of COVID-19 in the State. On March 24, Palm, as secretary-designee of the Department of Health Services, issued Emergency Order 12 ordering Wisconsin citizens to stay at home. On April 16, Palm issued Emergency Order 28 ordering individuals to stay at home or risk punishment. The Wisconsin Legislature brought an emergency petition for original action asserting that Palm failed to follow emergency rulemaking procedures required under Wis. Stat. 227.24. The Supreme Court held (1) Emergency Order 28 is a "rule" under Wis. Stat. 227.01(13); (2) because Palm did not follow rulemaking procedures during Order 28's promulgation, there could be no criminal penalties for violations of her order; and (3) Palm's order further exceeded the statutory authority of Wis. Stat. 252.02.