Assembly Signals Opposition As Evers Says He Will Sign Senate Passed COVID Bill

(Madison) Governor Tony Evers said Tuesday that he’s on board with a coronavirus relief bill passed by the state Senate, and that he wants the state Assembly to send it to him for his signature.

The Senate approved the measure on a voice vote, after Democrat Chris Larson and Republican Steve Nass voted against an amendment to the bill which was passed by the Assembly last week.

The Senate bill retains liability protections for businesses, schools, churches and non-profits to which Evers had initially objected. But in a statement, the Democratic governor said he worked together with new Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu to find common ground.

Evers said in a statement that “AB 1 as amended by the Senate is a good start to support our state’s response to this pandemic.” He urged the Assembly to pass it.

However, Assembly Majority Leader, Representative Jim Steineke, quickly indicated that was an unlikely outcome.

“The state Senate passed a bill that fails to address so many of the issues we’re hearing from constituents from all over the state,” Steinke said.

“We will continue to advocate for the priorities of our constituents over the next few weeks as we move towards a response to the Senate’s actions during our next floor period later this month.”

The recent Assembly and Senate actions represent the first legislation to address the global pandemic since an initial response bill passed by both chambers last April.

State Representative Mark Born says it is unfortunate that the COVID relief bill failed to include many of the provisions that addressed concerns he had heard from constituents. Provisions that allowed those to opt out of the coronavirus vaccine as well as prohibited local health officers from shutting down businesses without approval. Born says he is disappointed to see that these policies did not make the cut. The Beaver Dam Republican says he will continue to advocate for the people of the 39th Assembly District as the state works toward an agreement on the COVID relief bill.


WRN contributed