A Republican state legislator is seeking to block the University of Wisconsin System’s COVID-19 plans for the fall.
State Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) wants the UW System to get legislative approval for any virus-related regulations. Nass co-chairs the legislature’s administrative rules committee. Nass explained his decision in media release on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, some chancellors in the UW System consider themselves mini-Andrea Palms not beholden to following state law and moving quickly to take advantage of the Delta-variant hysteria to enact excessive Covid-19 mandates. The legislature should not drag its feet in utilizing the powers we have to prevent state agencies from abusing the statutory and constitutional rights of citizens as was done in 2020.
Senator Kelda Roys (D-Madison) serves on the rules committee, and her district includes the Madison campus. “It’s just hard to see how any rational person could think that prohibiting any COVID precautions is a good idea. I mean unless you really think that unmitigated spread of COVID is a good thing,” said Roys.
Interim UW System President Tommy Thompson did not directly address Nass’ proposal, but expressed his concerns in a statement released on Thursday.
Given my experience as a former United States Health and Human Services Secretary, I know the biggest threat to in-person classes this fall would be actions that strip the UW System of the tools it has so successfully used to date to address outbreaks and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Nass plans to hold a paper ballot vote Tuesday in the committee, in which Republicans hold a 6-to-4 majority. His effort to restrict the UW System’s efforts come with Wisconsin the midst of an increase in new COVID-19 infections.