A Republican-authored COVID-19 relief package has ended a month-long trip through the Legislature with the Governor’s veto.
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu urged Governor Evers to sign the legislation after it passed the Senate on Friday.
“The governor needs to sign this bill. This bill is vitally important for the state of Wisconsin. Do you know why the governor needs to sign this bill? There are many important extensions of Act 185, very many important extensions.”
LeMahieu says that they wanted to protect businesses who were doing the right thing.
“I wouldn’t let local Health departments unilaterally shut down a Main Street business that’s trying to operate, that’s had a year now to put CDC guidelines in place and operate safely. We shouldn’t have local Health Departments just shutting down a business.”
But Senator Jon Erpenbach said that Senate Republicans strayed away from the compromise they’d made with the Governor earlier this year.
“So at the end of the day, Mr. President, we’re left with nothing. A big fat zero of doing anything to try and help out not only Wisconsinites but Wisconsin businesses, help them get open, help schools get open, anything.”
Erpenbach says that Republicans have stapled policy choices onto the bill that go far beyond supporting the people of Wisconsin during the pandemic.
“And now we’re taking this legislation and basically saying that the governor can’t order a mask mandate, even though I already has, but he can order an emergency order just to collect money. That’s not going to keep Wisconsinites safe, Mr. President, and I think we all know that!”
Immediately after the bill passed on Friday, Governor Evers announced a veto.
Alongside some extensions of the previous relief package, the bill would have stripped more powers away from the Governor’s desk including control over where federal relief funding is spent. It would have also restricted Governor Evers from issuing any more mask orders.
Evers and Senate Republicans originally reached a compromise on the package, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos balked at that, and accused the Governor of not negotiating fairly with the entire Legislature.