Assembly Democrats Opting Out Of Monday’s Ceremonial Swearing-In

(Madison) Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly won’t be attending next week’s inauguration ceremony. Minority Leader Gordon Hintz of Oshkosh said his members have coronavirus concerns.

“All 38 members of the Democratic caucus have officially been sworn in as new members for the 2021-2022 legislative session,” Hintz said. “Monday’s ceremony poses a lot of risk to members that I think a part of our caucus were not planning on attending.”

“People all across Wisconsin safely go to work every day and members of the Assembly are capable of doing so as well,” Assembly Speaker, Rochester Republican Robin Vos said in a statement

“The Assembly will convene safely as other legislatures across the country have done during the pandemic. Members and staff are being asked to follow CDC guidelines, practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash their hands frequently.”

Vos is suggesting — but not requiring — that legislators and staff wear masks on Monday, as well as for floor periods and committee meetings going forward.

Democrats have requested a virtual option for the upcoming legislative session. “It’s hard to explain why we would risk the lives and health of members, staff, the press, service staff and agencies that have to be there when we meet, when we don’t have to,” Hintz said. “We have virtual options that we’ve used, and those should continue until we get a point where that risk goes away.”