Governor Tony Evers, who is facing a Republican lawsuit in the Wisconsin Supreme Court over extending his Safer at Home order, was asked Thursday about Speaker Robin Vos’ claim that he won’t meet with legislative leaders to discuss the state’s pandemic response.
“I think our staff members talk to their staff members every single day,” Evers said during a media conference call. “And I have, on occasion, talked to Speaker Vos about this issue. Going back and forth with Robin Vos at this time is not necessarily helpful. Our staff and his staff, if it’s not every day, it’s damn near every single day, they talk.”
Folks, this isn’t like flipping a switch. We need to continue to protect our healthcare system from being overwhelmed and build up the tools to manage this virus, so we can turn the dial and reopen our economy. #BadgerBounceBack #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/1v6ucxorwU
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) April 23, 2020
Later on Thursday, Speaker Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald sent a letter to Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, asking her to “immediately” begin working with them on an emergency rule, to replace the Safer at Home order she issued at Evers’ request.
The letter (read it here) states that “immediate work is essential so that the emergency rule ultimately promulgated can be of the type and character that the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules can approve.”
Members of that committee include three of Palm’s harshest critics, Steve Nass (R – Whitewater), (R-Senators Duey Stroebel (R – Saukville) and David Craig (R-Big Bend).
In working together with us in drafting this emergency rule, we urge you to keep in mind that the State’s response should be based on science and sound policy, not fear and unilateral decision making by one cabinet secretary. Wisconsinites, even in communities with zero COVID-19 cases, are facing skyrocketing unemployment while being forced to stay home. This drastic, one-size-fits-all approach is not sustainable. We demand that you and the Governor answer our calls to work together to safeguard public health while respecting the law and allowing our economy to reopen.
In an interview with WFAW-AM on Thursday, Assembly Speaker Pro-Tem Tyler August (R – Lake Geneva) said lawmakers have legislative oversight of such matters.
“To make sure that we didn’t have a single individual making decisions for a state of six million people,” August said on the Stuck in the Middle with Andy Jorgensen show. “And so, we have asked for a seat at the table. The governor has continually ignored the legislature’s role in this.”
August also claimed Republicans had no input on Evers’ “Badger Bounce Back” plan to restart the economy. “That’s what we’re asking for, and it’s time for him to sit down and work something out. As he comes out with his quote-unquote plans, it’s not a clear coherent plan. And he claims that he’s been talking to business leaders around the state, and yet we can’t find any business leaders that he talked to.”