A proposed package of GOP backed COVID-19 bills got its first hearing at the state Capitol on Tuesday.
There’s a number of business friendly measures in the package, including restricting local health departments from closing businesses for long periods of time, and broad lawsuit immunity for businesses. Those immunity measures that got most of the attention on Tuesday.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says that he wants to have businesses continue their COVID-19 prevention efforts, but also be free from lawsuits if someone catches the virus.
“But the idea is to try and find a balance, with the assumption that businesses are going to do the right thing.”
Kristine Hillmer with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association says that her industry has been unfairly targeted by health restrictions.
“Our industry has become a major fall guy for this pandemic, which also makes us a major target for frivolous lawsuits over exposure to COVID-19.”
The bill would also require school boards to vote every two weeks if they want to keep students in virtual classes.
“So if they decided to do a hybrid plan, where as an example they were in person two days a week, and hybrid three days a week, that would not qualify to have the school board take a recurring vote. It’s only if they are all virtual,” says Vos.
Other measures would give the GOP-controlled Joint Finance Committee control over any future federal COVID-19 funding, and prevent local health departments from closing businesses for long periods of time.