UPDATE: As promised, Governor Evers has veto COVID-19 legislation, only a few hours after it passed the State Legislature.
In his veto message, Evers cites the various provisions in the bill that would set “limits the Department of Health Services and local health officers authority relating to gatherings,” as well as “strips employers of their ability to keep their business and community safe by requiring vaccination as a condition of employment, with medical and religious exemptions.”
“I am vetoing AB (Assembly Bill) 1 in its entirety because I object to the provisions in this bill that will make it more challenging to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. Instead, AB 1 takes away existing tools available to public health officials and employers,” says Evers.
Evers goes on to say he is ready to pass the version of AB 1 that passed with bipartisan support in the State Senate prior to this week.
That bill was amended by the State Assembly to include the provisions that led to Evers’ veto. Other provisions include continuing extended unemployment benefits and reduce liability concerns.
Gov. Evers announced he will veto COVID-19 legislation passed by the State Senate on Friday.
The Governor’s statement below:
Gov. Tony Evers today reacted to the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 1, which was passed after Republicans abandoned compromise legislation that passed the Wisconsin State Senate with bipartisan support. A previous bipartisan version of AB 1 had received the governor’s support, signaling he would sign that version if Republicans sent it to his desk.
AB 1 will be the first bill the Legislature sends to the governor’s desk in more than 290 days. The governor also announced he intends to veto the legislation that will, in part, impose limits on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Wisconsinites know a compromise when they see one, and this isn’t it,” said Gov. Evers. “We had a bill that Republicans and Democrats supported—and one that I said I would sign if it was sent to my desk—that passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote. Unfortunately, Republicans once again chose to put politics before people, abandoned that compromise, and passed a bill they knew I wouldn’t sign. I am calling on Republicans in the Legislature to stop playing politics and get to work sending me the compromise bill we worked on together.”
Immediately following the vote on AB 1 in the Senate, the governor called for AB 1 to be presented to him without delay.
“It’s taken far too long for the Legislature to take further action on this pandemic. Wisconsinites don’t care about political points or who gets the credit. They just want to know that their family, their business, and their neighbors are going to be okay as we continue to fight this virus. Enough politics—just get it done.”