Republicans Call Committee Meeting to Undermine Governor’s COVID-19 Response yet Offer No Plan to Address Growing Health Crisis

180 days later, Republicans choose lawsuits, inaction, and political theater over meaningful response.

MADISON –Today, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) is scheduled to hold an Executive Session to consider Emergency Order No. 3: Limiting Public Gatherings issued by Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to address Wisconsin’s growing COVID-19 crisis. The Republican motion submitted for consideration – if enforceable – would require DHS to submit a rule for consideration within 30 days, adding a layer of bureaucracy and potential delay with no new plans to address the pandemic.

“Exactly 180 days have passed since the Republican-led legislature last met,” said Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison). “And for the past 6 months, Republicans have chosen lawsuits, inaction, and political theater over addressing Wisconsin’s growing public health crisis in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Emergency Order No. 3 was issued by DHS on October 6 in response to high levels of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in Wisconsin. The commonsense measure works to stem the spread of the disease by limiting public gatherings to reduce exposure.

“More of our friends and neighbors are getting sick, our hospitals are reaching capacity, and too many Wisconsinites are losing their lives to this disease,” said Rep. Subeck. “We all want a sense of normalcy, kids safely back in school, and our economy back on track, but it is crystal clear that our state’s recovery is dependent upon getting the spread of this disease under control.”

It has been 180 days since the Wisconsin Legislature last convened and 170 days since Republicans submitted their brief that led to the overturning of Governor Evers’s Safer at Home order in which they told the state’s highest court they were “drafting even now” a plan to respond to the pandemic. Yet since then, Republicans have produced no plan and passed no new legislation to address COVID-19.

“Today’s meeting is little more than a bit of political theater on the part of Republicans as they try to stand in the way of the Governor’s work to keep people safe and address the pandemic,” said Rep. Subeck. “The people of Wisconsin overwhelmingly support the Governor’s actions on COVID-19, and it is time my Republican colleagues stop putting politics ahead of the health and safety of their constituents and their communities.”