Skip to main content

One Emergency After Another: Wisconsin Governor And Legislators Battle Over COVID-19

Photo caption:

Photo by Morry Gash AP

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, seen last year. Lawmakers repealed his executive order declaring a coronavirus emergency. He issued a new one.

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin approved a joint resolution Thursday overriding Gov. Tony Evers' most recent COVID-19 state of emergency, abolishing a state-wide mask mandate. In response, Evers declared a new state of emergency. Effective immediately, Wisconsinites must again wear masks in public places.

The legislature approved Joint Resolution 3 Thursday in a 52-42 vote in the Assembly, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. Democrats were joined by seven Republicans, but it wasn't enough. The resolution terminated Evers' Executive Order #104, calling the emergency declaration "unlawful."

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, told lawmakers to stand up against the governor. "I don't know when legislators became comfortable with delegating their authority to the executive branch, creating an office where he can do whatever he wants," Steineke said. "That's not how this was set up."

Steineke argued the pushback wasn't about masks, which were mandated in July by Evers' second public health emergency declaration. That said, Republicans also shot down an amendment introduced by Democratic lawmakers Thursday that would have implemented a statewide mask mandate, WPR reported.

Shortly afterward, Evers countered with Executive Order #105 and Emergency Order #1, complete with another mask mandate. In a statement released by the governor's office Thursday, Evers said his efforts to contain the coronavirus have been met with lawsuits and obstruction.

"Wearing a mask is the most basic thing we can do to keep each other safe," Evers said. "If the Legislature keeps playing politics and we don't keep wearing masks, we're going to see more preventable deaths, and it's going to take even longer to get our state and our economy back on track."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.