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June 17, 2020
Governor Tony Evers
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707

Dear Governor Evers,

It has come to our attention that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has temporarily suspended all in-person recreational safety classes, including Boating, Snowmobile, ATV, Hunting, Internet Field Days and Bow hunting courses. This is alarming news to the millions of sportsmen across our state and would be incredibly detrimental to participation in our outdoor recreational activities at a time when our citizens, visitors and tourism industry need it the most. In fact, the Department of Tourism says outdoor recreation was the top marketable driver of visits to Wisconsin in 2019.

When the DNR officials responded to a representative about this concern, they stated, “The Department of Natural Resources places a high priority on the safety education programs offered to Wisconsinites.” It is great to see this is something we can all agree on.

If your administration agrees that these programs are a high priority, why have you ordered these courses to be suspended for the foreseeable future? We are reaching out in an earnest attempt to see what your reasoning is for this decision. It would appear, by all measures of your Badger Bounce Back program, there should be no problem with these classes occurring.

As part of your Badger Bounce Back program, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was asked to create guidelines for re-opening the state. According to the recommendations regarding “Outdoor Gatherings”, which includes outdoor educational programming, these instructional courses could resume with a maximum of 50 participants. Are your agencies following the same guidelines that you’ve asked Wisconsinites to follow, or do they have the privilege of playing by a different set of rules?

No one is arguing that caution should be thrown to the wind as we all work together to responsibly re-open. We are simply pointing out it is becoming impossible to comprehend what rules everyone needs to play by. The DNR is following the lead of the Department of Health Services (DHS), who is waiting on the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to come out with guidelines for in-person pupil instruction. Should the DNR not instead be working with local governments on outdoor recreation class guidelines?

Unfortunately, your administration continues to operate under the Public Health Emergency you declared in Executive Order #72. As I’m sure you are aware, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down your Executive Order #28, which declared bureaucratic overreach by your administration. As supporters of local control, we would encourage you to follow the court’s ruling and continue to operate under the advisement of local officials, who we believe can make the best decisions for their region.

We are asking that your administration allows for these in-person safety classes to resume immediately. Business owners around Wisconsin have made adjustments to safely re-open and operate their businesses; we have full confidence that our local instructors can institute the necessary safety precautions to allow for these courses to proceed.

Last week, you encouraged Wisconsinites to “go outside and exercise your rights.” We agree with that message and look forward to working with your administration to resolve this situation. Thank you for taking the time to consider our request on behalf of sportsmen, the tourism industry and Wisconsinites across the state.

Respectfully,

Representative Rob Swearingen, 34th Assembly District
Representative Mary Felzkowski, 35th Assembly District
Representative Robin Vos, 63rd Assembly District
Representative Warren Petryk , 93rd Assembly District
Representative Joel Kitchens , 1st Assembly District
Representative Gae Magnafici . 28th Assembly District
Representative Rick Gundrum, 58th Assembly District
Representative Treig Pronschinske, 92nd Assembly
Representative Mike Rohrkaste, District 55th Assembly District
Representative Janel Brandtjen , 22nd Assembly District
Representative Bob Kulp, 69th Assembly District
Representative Romaine Quinn, 75th Assembly District
Representative Rob Summerfield, 67th Assembly District
Representative Tyler August, 32nd Assembly District
Representative Timothy Ramthun, 59th Assembly District
Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt, 52nd Assembly District
Representative John Spiros, 86th Assembly District
Representative Cindi Duchow, 99th Assembly District
Representative Rob Stafsholt, 29th Assembly District
Representative Chuck Wichgers, 83rd Assembly District
Representative Tony Kurtz, 50th Assembly District
Representative Jesse James, 68th Assembly District
Representative Cody Horlacher, 33rd Assembly District
Representative Mike Kuglitsch, 84th Assembly District
Representative Jon Plumer, 42nd Assembly District
Representative Adam Neylon, 98th Assembly District
Representative Paul Tittl, 25th Assembly District
Representative Barbara Dittrich, 38th Assembly District
Representative Joan Ballweg, 41st Assembly District
Representative Scott Allen, 97th Assembly District
Representative Joe Sanfelippo, 15th Assembly District
Representative Jeff Mursau, 36th Assembly District
Representative Dan Knodl, 24th Assembly District
Representative Dave Murphy, 56th Assembly District
Representative Tyler Vorpagel, 27th Assembly District
Representative Jim Ott, 23rd Assembly District
Representative Travis Tranel, 49th Assembly District
Representative Robert Wittke, 62nd Assembly District
Senator Devin LeMahieu, 9th Senate District
Senator Chris Kapenga, 33rd Senate District
Senator Daniel Feyen, 18th Senate District
Senator Andre Jacque, 1st Senate District
Senator Howard Marklein, 17th Senate District
Senator Wanggaard, 21st Senate District
Senator Stephen Nass, 11th Senate District

cc: Preston D. Cole
Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources