In the hours after Wisconsin lawmakers Friday afternoon passed the state’s first bill to address COVID-19 since April, Gov. Tony Evers vetoed it.
The bill, which has ping-ponged between both chambers of the Legislature over the last month as lawmakers made changes to the plan, finally came to rest at Evers’ desk — but the version that made it there was one the Democratic executive said Republicans “knew I wouldn’t sign.”
But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMaieu slammed Evers’ decision in a joint statement, countering that “it appears Governor Evers cares more about his own power than the people of Wisconsin.”
That’s about right. I’ve bolded the two key provisions that Evers doesn’t want.
In its current form, the bill would have prevented health officials from barring gatherings in places of worship, given the Legislature oversight of the distribution of federal funds that are allocated to Wisconsin related to combating COVID-19, not allowed employers and health officials to require vaccinations against the virus and provide liability protection for businesses and others tied to COVID-related claims.
It would also have covered COVID vaccinations under the SeniorCare program for elderly individuals; allowed the Legislature’s powerful budget panel to transfer up to $100 million in certain appropriations for COVID expenses; and broaden open enrollment options for students seeking in-person education, among a host of other things.