Jefferson County Press Release - Health Officer Ordinance

Health Officer Ordinance

DATE: June 19, 2020
The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors has been in the process of reviewing the potential for a local communicable disease ordinance that ratifies, at the county level, a local health officer’s duties and responsibilities, all of which are mandated by section 252.03 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Jefferson County did not have a local ordinance governing communicable diseases or similar public health matters as Jefferson County had relied on the relevant state statutes for the prevention, control and surveillance of communicable diseases.

A draft ordinance would provide parameters and procedures for the local health officer’s issuance of public health orders, if needed. This has been a recommendation from statewide legal analysis. One significant process that was different from state statute was to add an appeal process to the draft ordinance.

It was determined at the June County Board meeting that there is a need for more discussion, analysis and feedback from the public prior to determining the next course of action on how to move forward. Part of this is due to seeking guidance from a statewide working group that has recently formed with stakeholders to include the Wisconsin Counties Association, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, legal advisors, public health officials, Wisconsin Restaurant Association and a chamber organization. We now anticipate these efforts will take at least four to six weeks before this guidance is received.
Once the guidance is received, the County will review the recommendations to determine if and how the County should move forward with a communicable disease/local health officer ordinance.

The County anticipates the following timeline:

• Review of guidance and initial policy guidance – Joint Executive Committee/Board of Health
• Development of revised local ordinance/guidance for consideration if directed
• Public Presentation on revised local ordinance/guidance if recommended to move forward
• Public Hearing on the proposed ordinance with County Board
• Discussion and review of Ordinance by the Executive Committee and Board of Health
• County Board Consideration

All meetings are public and time is set aside at each meeting for public comment. County meetings are noticed through the County Website and press releases.

The highest priority now for Jefferson County officials is working to balance the needs of public health, safety and general welfare with support for the recovery of our communities and economy. To aid in that effort, last week the county launched its CommUNITY Partners campaign providing a unified approach for residents and businesses to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus while supporting the reopening of the local economy.

We also encourage businesses to review our Back to Business program and other resources at