April 20, 2020
Wisconsin residents are becoming increasingly distressed by the limitations imposed on our everyday lives and liberties by Governor Tony Evers and his administration.
Over the last several weeks Republicans in the Legislature have utilized every resource available to us to get the information and legal guidance we need to make informed and strategic decisions during the public health emergency.
Legislators can and should be able to offer constructive input regarding how Wisconsin responds to and recovers from COVID-19 and we stand ready to be part of the solution. We also know there are willing partners in the business and health care communities who want to be part of that conversation.
Since the initial safer at home/public health emergency order was issued, my colleagues and I have been actively engaged in our districts, alongside our constituents (virtually and physically), observing the toll the public health emergency is taking on our daily lives, our economy and our individual freedoms.
We have been very aggressive in asking the Evers’ administration for more data, quantitative benchmarks, and a clear sense of the strategy and timeline for ending the order.
We are also suggesting alternatives to some of the more extreme decisions the administration has made. Personally, we believe that all businesses are “essential” since they represents someone’s livelihood. We understand that some may need to modify their operations (with engineering controls or changes to policies and procedures) to reduce the risk of transmission from COVID-19. We also realize some businesses may not be able to demonstrate they can operate safely, and may not be able to reopen right away and some may understandably choose to voluntarily close for a while.
We understand COVID-19 poses a real threat to public health. If Governor Evers lifts the “Safer at Home” order in two days or two week or two months, we believe many Wisconsinites, especially vulnerable populations and people with underlying health conditions, may still choose to shelter in place or self-quarantine, limit their activities and travel, and do whatever they need to do to keep themselves and their families safe. We respect their decisions to do so.
Government can provide guidance, but ultimately we must allow individuals to decide when they feel confident and safe to reenter society. A one-size fits all solution is impractical in a state as large and diverse as Wisconsin.
We ask Governor Evers and his administration to answer the question – “What does success look like?” Wisconsin residents need know what needs to happen in order for him to start rolling back any, many or all of the restrictions he has placed on us. We have had several weeks to adapt our behaviors to incorporate proper etiquette and social distancing measures, and his administration has said those measures are working.
Last week the Legislature passed, and Governor Evers signed into law, a bipartisan package of policy items to facilitate the allocation of federal funds for Wisconsin, to reduce red tape, and provide flexibility so Wisconsin agencies, health care providers and other industry sectors can respond quickly. Now that the bill is passed, we can completely focus on recovery efforts and planning for getting Wisconsin “Open for Business” and moving FORWARD.
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, 31st Assembly District
Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, 84th Assembly District