Dodge County Executive Committee Discusses Local Health Ordinance

(Juneau) The development of a local health ordinance was discussed Monday by the Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee. When the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Health Secretary-designee Andrea Palm’s safer-at-home order was unlawful, many counties began reviewing their own ordinances to determine whether there was a basis for local orders.

Dodge County discovered, like many other counties, that they did not have an ordinance governing public health matters or diseases; instead relying on state statutes. A draft ordinance was written that would give Dodge County Public Health distinct procedures and developed parameters should a localized order be needed. At the county board’s June meeting they tabled the item, choosing to wait for the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) to hand down their own guidelines for a state-wide county-level health ordinance.

The WCA’s recommendations were recently released which brought the matter back up for discussion at the Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee. Several members of the public opposed to the idea of creating a local health ordinance spoke out at yesterday’s meeting. Some cited that the Dodge County Public Health will twist statistics to instill fear while others argued that the Wisconsin Counties Association should have no say on what happens locally.

Dodge County Corporation Counsel Kim Nass says any local health ordinance written will be tailored for Dodge County. She says the Wisconsin Counties Association recommendations are only that and covers constitutional provisions for what is in current state statutes for local public health officers. Nass will work on a new draft ordinance that will be presented at the executive committee’s next meeting as well as the human services and health board. If the executive committee advances the ordinance, the earliest it could be brought back to the county board for discussion would be in December.