Katsma_websitebanner_2017 resized.jpg

 May 15, 2020


 115th resized.jpg


This past Tuesday, May 12th, four F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 115th Fighter Wing (Wisconsin Air National Guard) based in Madison and a tanker aircraft of the 128th Air Refueling Wing based in Milwaukee performed a flyover across southeastern Wisconsin in tribute to the citizens of our state on the front lines of the coronavirus emergency.  (In this photo, which I found in the Fox6 media coverage of the event, you can just make out the Madison isthmus and the dome of the State Capitol in the background.)  They flew over downtown Sheboygan a little after 6 pm on Tuesday.  I highly encourage you to take a few minutes to watch the pilots' thank you message, and additional footage of their flight, on social media.  I also highly encourage you to pay tribute right back to them tomorrow, May 16th, as America observes Armed Forces Day in honor of all the men and women who serve or have served in the military of our nation.


Actually, there's more exciting military-related news that may have flown under your radar.  (Please pardon the pun.)  The U.S. Navy has awarded a huge contract to Marinette Marine to build the lead ship in the newest class of frigates.  Marinette Marine's success in winning the contract against competitors in Alabama, Mississippi and Maine brings potentially $5 billion in new business to 160 Wisconsin suppliers and more than 5,000 of our workers.  Yes, you read that correctly: Wisconsin out-competed Maine at shipbuilding!  Even closer to home, Oshkosh Defense has won well north of $1 billion in new contracts for military vehicles and modernization over the past few months.  And the 115th Fighter Wing won't be flying their aging F-16s much longer; the Air Force chose them last month to be among the very few U.S.-based units who will fly the new F-35A fighter beginning in 2023.


The most impactful news of the week, of course, has been the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision that Governor Evers' "Safer at Home" order #28 is invalid and unenforceable.  Months ago and ever since, the administration chose to ignore the emergency rulemaking procedure provided in the law for navigating situations like this one, instead claiming that they alone would make all the decisions, indefinitely, without so much as one public hearing in the meantime.  Legislators repeatedly asked for cooperative conversations in search of a legal, bipartisan plan that all of Wisconsin could be "for," but we were repeatedly rebuffed.  So I applaud the Court's finding, which unfortunately became necessary, that the administration's order was excessive in its content and did not follow the law in its procedure.


As a result of the Supreme Court's decision, there are presently no statewide coronavirus-related limits on human activity.  (Well, I take it back: schools are still closed for the rest of the spring semester.)  Sheboygan County has indicated that it will not be issuing any local prohibitions, either.  It is legal to attend church, get your hair cut, dine in, play sports and shop without fear of violating a state order or losing a state business license.


The fight against the virus isn't over.  But the next phase of the fight is in your hands now.  Sheboygan County health officials have published their recommendations, which will look very familiar to you.  These make good sense, and I too recommend that you follow their wise guidance so that it never becomes necessary for government at any level to consider reimposing enforceable restrictions now that they've been lifted.  The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has also helpfully published best practices, tailored for various industries in anticipation of this day, that I urge businesses and customers alike to consider.


For weeks, I've advocated for a safe and gradual reopening, but that we couldn't afford to wait any longer to get started moving in that direction.  It's been scarcely two days since the Court's decision, but already I'm seeing local businesses who are reopening with creative solutions of their own, such as discounted prices for customers who wear masks, voluntary limits on customer numbers, and the like.  We've now joined the many other states who have no statewide lockdown but will rely instead on sensible practices such as social distancing and the use of protective equipment to keep the outbreak at bay.  I'm relieved that this seems to be working well so far in other states who have a head start on us.


The new Marquette Law School Poll published this week indicated that most people (77 percent) are comfortable at this point with visiting a friend or family member's home.  I'm pleased that folks may once again exercise their own good judgment to live life without fear of government reprisal.  I trust that you're up to the task.


Electronic signature.jpg



Office of Representative Terry Katsma
State Capitol, Room 306 East
P.O. Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-0656
Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov |