Wisconsin GOP Unleashes Newest Assault on Safeguards as US Sees 4,000 COVID-19 Deaths Per Day

Masks on a table



By Jonathon Sadowski

January 22, 2021

Despite a continued decline in coronavirus infections here, the resolution would kill face mask requirements.

Three weeks into a new legislative session that remains bereft of any coronavirus assistance to a weary state, more than two-dozen Republican lawmakers have introduced a resolution to kill the recently renewed face mask safeguard.

Gov. Tony Evers on Monday announced a new statewide public health emergency and face coverings requirement, his fourth health emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic. A lawsuit supported by Republicans asks the Wisconsin Supreme Court to rule that Evers is violating a law limiting states of emergency to 60 days and it should prohibit Evers from issuing subsequent orders for the same pandemic, but the Supreme Court has yet to hand down a ruling. 

The resolution is on Tuesday’s Senate calendar for a vote.

Republican lawmakers have previously sought to end Evers’ mask requirements as they are legally empowered to do, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and then-Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) never convened their chambers to strike the orders down. 

The lawmakers’ new resolution says it has been introduced to “vigorously protect and defend the principle of structurally separated and limited power, so as to protect the governed from abusive government” as well as “the integrity of the legislative powers authorized under the Wisconsin Constitution and the integrity of this republican form of government.”

Britt Cudaback, deputy communications director for Evers, released a statement saying that while the governor “works to keep Wisconsinites healthy and safe and distribute vaccines across our state, Republicans continue their efforts to hinder our state’s response. Republicans haven’t taken COVID-19 seriously from the beginning, and they still aren’t now more than 280 days since they last sent a bill to the governor’s desk.”

The Legislature has not passed a coronavirus relief measure since April 15, 2020.

COVID-19 killed more than 4,000 people in the US on both Wednesday and Thursday. Wisconsin, meanwhile, is seeing a steady decline in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations while the new face mask safeguard has been in effect. The pandemic has claimed 5,643 lives in Wisconsin through Friday.

State senators signed onto the resolution are: 

  • Steve Nass (R-Whitewater)
  • Julian Bradley (R-Franklin)
  • Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield)
  • Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville)
  • Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma)
  • André Jacque (R-De Pere)
  • Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point)
  • Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green)
  • Van Wanggaard (R-Racine)

State representatives signed onto the resolution are:

  • Timothy Ramthun (R-Campbellsport)
  • Cody Horlacher (R-Mukwonago)
  • Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers)
  • Gae Magnafici (R-Dresser)
  • Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego)
  • Rachael Cabral-Guevera (R-Appleton)
  • Robert Brooks (R-Saukville)
  • John Jagler (R-Watertown)
  • Mark Gundrum (R-Slinger)
  • John Macco (R- Ledgeview)
  • Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin)
  • Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac)
  • Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls)
  • Scott Allen (R-Waukesha)
  • Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc)
  • Clint Moses (R-Menomonie)
  • Dan Knodl (R-Germantown)
  • Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh)



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