Breaking down the Health Officer Referendum

The Health Officer Referendum is the Brown County ballot this election.
The Health Officer Referendum is the Brown County ballot this election.(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 11, 2020 at 9:42 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The past few weeks we’ve shown you who you can vote for this election, but what you vote for in the policy questions at the end of the ballot is just as important.

This election the Brown County ballot asks: “Should Wisconsin State Statutes be amended to provide County Board of Supervisors with a mechanism to approve or overturn any actions taken by County Health Officers that impose county wide restrictions on citizens and/or businesses, or that require county wide closure of businesses?”

This question refers to an advisory referendum meaning the results will be taken to state lawmakers but won’t directly change the law. County Health Officers in Wisconsin are allowed to do what is “reasonable and necessary” to suppress disease in their areas.

But, when the State Supreme Court got rid of the Safer at Home order in May it left a lot of decision-making to local governments.

Some state lawmakers argued it would be wise to allow the County Board of Supervisors to review certain decisions before they are enacted. However, some opposed to it argue the supervisors don’t have public health backgrounds like the health officers

Vote yes if you want an extra check on the power of County Health Officers. Vote no if you think the County Health Officers are sufficiently qualified to make these decisions.

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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