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Colorado, Utah and Oklahoma all finished up their elections Tuesday, and Medicaid expansion in OK appears to have passed. And, a Supreme Court ruling could open the door for more public money to religious institutions.

Despite Court Ruling, Some WI Cities Enforce Stay-At-Home

Wisconsin's stay-at-home order was scheduled to last through late May, until it was ended by a state Supreme Court ruling this week. (Adobe Stock)
Wisconsin's stay-at-home order was scheduled to last through late May, until it was ended by a state Supreme Court ruling this week. (Adobe Stock)
May 15, 2020

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin's stay-at-home order for the pandemic was due to run through late May, until the state Supreme Court ended it much sooner. However, that isn't stopping local and county governments from carrying out their own orders.

Top GOP lawmakers had challenged the order from the Democratic governor, and the Republican-leaning high court declared it unconstitutional this week. Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway says even though the state order is no longer in effect, her county still wants residents to avoid unnecessary outings through May 26.

"What the Supreme Court did was just throw everything open," says Rhodes-Conway. "No precaution, nothing based on, you know, best practices in public health. Here in Madison, we will be turning a dial, not flipping a switch."

The mayor says her office is working with Dane County and public health officials, examining COVID-19 data to set a path toward a phased reopening. Other counties, including Brown and Kenosha, are keeping local orders in place for certain periods of time.

Republican lawmakers who pushed for the ruling say the order had dragged on long enough, and that the Legislature didn't have enough say in the response to COVID-19.

A patchwork of ordinances that conflict with the state-level decision is prompting confusion over how the public should act during the crisis. Rhodes-Conway says she understands the debate might invoke more fears, but in her view, that shouldn't stand in the way of a measured approach.

"The economic pain caused by this pandemic is very, very real," says Rhodes-Conway. "But I think that it is important for us to continue to be guided by science."

Prior to the ruling, Gov. Tony Evers had already announced an immediate easing of restrictions on certain business activity. Wisconsin has seen more than 10,000 coronavirus cases, with more than 400 deaths.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - WI