Republicans Don’t Have Enough Votes to Overturn Mask Mandate, GOP Lawmaker Says
Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, said Sunday on "UPFRONT" that Assembly Republicans do not have enough votes to overturn Gov. Tony Evers' statewide mask requirement. (Screenshot via WISN)

Rep. Neylon admits “this is not about masks, per se.”

Assembly Republicans, who hold 63 of 99 Assembly seats, do not currently have enough votes to overturn Gov. Tony Evers’ mask mandate, according to Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee.

Neylon, who said Republicans “need” to overturn the order aimed at slowing down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, admitted GOP Assembly members are torn on the issue in a Sunday appearance on WISN’s “UPFRONT” program. 

“Quite frankly, we’re still working through the votes and understanding who will be supportive and who won’t,” Neylon said.

The revelation came more than a week after Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said Senate Republicans “stand ready” to strike down the mandate. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, is opposed to the order but has not said whether he will call lawmakers in to vote on ending it and has been vocally supportive of local orders.

Numerous Legislative Republicans have come out against the mask mandate, which Evers issued on July 30, making Wisconsin the 34th state to enact such a requirement. The order requires masks to be worn indoors, where the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is most likely. 

COVID-19 cases topped 60,000 in Wisconsin on Sunday, and deaths reached 1,000, according to state and local health data. Republican stronghold Waukesha County, which holds Neylon’s entire Assembly district, is currently among the state’s top hot spots, with 4,234 cases and 58 deaths as of Sunday, according to state data.

All but six of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are currently experiencing high levels of COVID-19 spread, according to the state Department of Health Services.

“I’m assuming, Rep. Neylon, there are some Republicans in the Assembly, from what you told us before, who believe in this order?” asked “UPFRONT” host Matt Smith.

“There are,” Neylon said. 

Neylon admitted a possible move to strike down the order is “not about masks, per se.” He noted there is clear evidence they work to slow the virus’ spread.

“This is about his (Evers’) ability to extend an executive order without our authority,” Neylon falsely claimed.

Evers has not extended any order. Under Wisconsin law, governors have the authority to declare states of emergency, which last for 60 days. The current emergency declaration lasts until Sept. 28 unless ended early by Evers or the Legislature. Only the Legislature can extend it.