Republicans Haven’t Called Legislature Into Session in 100 Days. Here’s What’s Happened Since Then.
A Capitol police officer watches the activity from outside the chambers as The Wisconsin Assembly meets April 14, one of the last times either chambers was in session this year. (RICK WOOD/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL)

Amid a pandemic, recession, and mass protest movement, the state’s top Republicans have given legislators an extended vacation.

The last time state lawmakers met, there were just over 3,700 confirmed coronavirus cases in Wisconsin. About 180 Wisconsinites had died of the virus.

Now, 878 have died and there are nearly 46,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

When the state Senate passed the initial coronavirus relief package on April 15, the state was still under Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-home order, which the Wisconsin Supreme Court would not strike down for another month.

George Floyd was still alive on April 15. He was murdered by Minneapolis police over a month later on May 25. 

Protests over Floyd’s death had not yet taken hold in cities large and small across the state and nation. The People’s Revolution, which has now marched in Milwaukee for about two months straight after Floyd’s death, had not yet been organized. Federal troops weren’t yet on their way to major cities including Milwaukee to intimidate and strongarm peaceful protesters.

Republicans have ignored calls for instituting coronavirus safeguards to replace Evers’ Safer at Home, leaving a patchwork of local rules and a pandemic that is reinvigorated and growing exponentially in the Badger State. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, have taken no action on a police reform package introduced in response to the historic protest movement over Floyd’s death.

Wisconsin has an 8.5 percent unemployment rate and the $600-per-week federal boost to unemployment insurance benefits expires this week and there is no guarantee there will be a federal replacement. There is a backlog of 141,000 uninsurance claims but Vos and Fitzgerald haven’t acted on a Democratic bill package aimed at expediting the process.