Wisconsin Senate modifies Assembly COVID-19 bill - Governor urges passage | WisCommunity

Wisconsin Senate modifies Assembly COVID-19 bill - Governor urges passage

January 12, 2021 - 3:48pm
Governor Tony Evers

In today's Senate session more changes were made to the Assembly's proposed COVID-19 billl, removing many of the items that Democrats and some Republicans in the legislature objected to. The modified bill is now going back to the state Assembly.

Gone are the bans on mandatory vaccines for employment, supermajority votes of school boards and other issues that would cripple local health authorities, and prohibitions of the closing of churches. 

The changes to state policy made by the Senate bill mostly include two provisions. The first is allowing a single "essential person"  to visit residents in nursing homes and assisted-living settiungs. The second is a measure promoted by Wisconsin Manufacturers  & Commerce and other business lobbyists that would protect businesses from being sued for infections or deaths stemming from the COVID-19 virus, even in cases where the business did not follow public health orders. 

Both of these measures had been brought forward by Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu as items that Senate Republicans wanted to concentrate on. Other than these two items the current billl is very similar to legislation that was passed at the beginning of the pandemic, and which Governor Evers signed quickly. A

Some concerns have been raised that Governor Evers might refuse to  sign the Senate Bill if it is brought to his desk, but in a statement today the governor said

“I’ve been grateful to work together with Republican Majority Leader LeMahieu to find common ground and pass a bill on COVID-19 that reflects a good faith effort in compromise and bipartisanship.

Although it's not the COVID compromise we originally proposed, AB 1 as amended by the Senate is a good start to support our state’s response to this pandemic. The Assembly should pass AB 1 as it was amended today and send it to my desk for my signature without delay.”

Steve Hanson
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