The state Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution to end Governor Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate.
It was authored by state Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater). “We citizens are capable determining what steps are appropriate to take in our daily lives to guard against COVID, without the heavy hand of government coming down on us,” Nass said.
Republicans maintain Evers has illegally issued multiple emergency orders and mask requirements. “Governor Evers is not above the law, even when he may feel that must act unilaterally to achieve his goals relating to COVID-19,” Nass said.
Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) (statement) said Evers has been forced to reissue emergency health orders amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “When something comes up, when there is a spike in this state, the governor doesn’t have the time to go to the Republican leadership on bended knee and say ‘oh please, oh please oh please,'” Erpenbach said.
“I’m sorry, emergencies don’t give a darn about your feelings. Emergencies end when they’re done,” said Senator Chris Larson, (D-Milwaukee) (statement).
Senator Van Wangaard (R-Racine) (statement) said Evers must get legislative permission to issue new orders. “This is about a continuation of the same emergency order time and time again like Groundhog Day, where you can just keep doing over and over again. And that is not what’s allowed.”
The resolution passed 18-13, with Republicans Rob Cowles of Green Bay (statement) and Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield voting with minority Democrats. It will be taken up in the Assembly Thursday. If passed there, the joint resolution will go into effect immediately, although local health declarations and mask orders won’t be affected.