Empower Wisconsin | Aug. 11, 2020
MADISON — Are you looking for an “efficient way” to inform on your neighbor for failing to follow Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate? Well, has Clark County got a deal for you.
The northwest Wisconsin county’s Health Department developed its “reporting system platform” to “alleviate the influx of phone calls county operations have been receiving” on the mask mandate.
In short, Clark County law enforcement officials have enough on their plates but feel free to rat out fellow community members by filling out an online form.
“Concerns submitted will be evaluated, and may be followed-up on if deemed necessary. Complainants will only be contacted if additional information is needed,” the health department’s web page notes.
Clark County Board Chairman Wayne Hendrickson told Wisconsin Public Radio he doesn’t know “why everybody is getting so excited about it.”
“If I’m mad at you and I see you somewhere where you should have a mask on, I probably am going to turn you in — but I doubt whether anybody is going to (prosecute),” he told the news outlet.
State Rep. Bob Kulp (R-Stratford) posted his surprise on Facebook.
“Really? In Clark County Wisconsin,” he wrote. He urged residents to contact their county board supervisor and express their opinions on the informant list.
While law enforcement across the state have said they won’t enforce Evers’ edict and its maximum $200 penalty for failure to comply, local health departments flush with their new-found power seem more than willing to assist. Liberal state Attorney General Josh Kaul told WKOW-TV that enforcement is the domain of health departments and district attorneys.
As WPR reported, Fond du Lac County created a mask noncompliance phone line to field complaints. On Friday, the Wausau Pilot & Review reported that Marathon County would launch an online form similar to Clark County’s.
As Evers was shutting down the state in March, Public Health Madison and Dane County launched a form to “Report a Mass Gathering” on its website. It has since removed the COVID informant’s page.