Today, the Douglas County District Court issued an order declining to stop Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse’s mask mandate while the lawsuit challenging it proceeds a final ruling. On January 11, 2022, Dr. Huse issued her mandate, backed with threats of criminal penalties, including months of imprisonment, for people who violate it. The following day, January 12, the Attorney General filed a lawsuit arguing that Dr. Huse was without lawful authority to issue her mandate. Then the Attorney General requested that the court enter a temporary injunction putting the mandate on hold while the case moves forward. The court heard argument yesterday and issued its ruling today.
“Public officials have only the authority that the law gives them, and Dr. Huse does not have the power to single-handedly issue her mandate,” said Attorney General Doug Peterson. “Although we disagree with the court’s ruling denying our request to immediately stop Dr. Huse’s mandate, we recognize that courts set a high bar for such requests. They will not grant them unless they think the issues are clear. A very important question still needs to be resolved in this case. That question is whether our laws allow one unaccountable official to unilaterally impose these kinds of mandates on individuals and businesses backed by the threat of fines or imprisonment.”