Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate approved a resolution that rolls back Evers’ latest emergency order extension on a largely party line vote.
The resolution prompted Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol on Tuesday to paint a dark picture of what will happen in the state without Gov. Tony Evers’ latest emergency order and mask requirement
Gov. Evers has issued several emergency orders since last March dealing with the coronavirus. State law limits his emergency powers to just 60 days, though the Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering that question right now.
Last week, Evers issued another extension that would carry the state’s emergency coronavirus restrictions and mask requirement into mid-March.
Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, said Wisconsin has been under one emergency order or another since last March.
“There is no such thing as a perpetual emergency,” Stroebel told senators. “Reissuing emergencies every 61 days is transparently attempting to circumvent the law.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said earlier on Tuesday that lawmakers want to check the governor rather than decide who should wear a mask.
“I don’t think the Constitution envisioned a single person being able to make rules forever by himself,” Vos told reporters. “I’m going to say people should still wear a mask, especially if you’re in a group of people that you don’t know.”
Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said the vote is not about face masks or even coronavirus restrictions. Nass said the question is about the balance of power in state government.
“This is not about face masks, Nass said. “This is about repeatedly issuing emergency orders, contrary to what the law allows. This is about the rule of law.”
Nass said lawmakers must act to “protect the governed from an abusive government.”
Republican Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, and Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, voted against the resolution.
Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said Tuesday during the Senate debate over the governor’s order he is annoyed “because my neighbors are dying,” adding: “This will shut down our state. Moving this forward will shut down our state and hurt even more. And maybe you’ll feel great and pat yourself on the back. But the rest of society will say ‘What the hell are you doing?’'”
“I know you can work things out,” Sen. Tim Carpenter, D-Milwaukee, said, addressing Republicans favoring a new round of negotiations with the governor. “I know you’re going to alienate your base. People are going to be mad at you. People will be mad enough that they will storm the Capitol, kill people, break windows, think they are taking over the U.S. Capitol.”
Carpenter didn’t stop there. In a 20-minute speech from the Senate floor, Carpenter blamed former President Trump for a lack of a national mask requirement, too few vaccines, an angry political culture, and thousands of deaths.
Carpenter also said the same people who oppose masks in Wisconsin are the same people who wanted to kidnap Michigan’s governor.
After the Senate vote, the Wisconsin Assembly scheduled a vote on the resolution to roll back the governor’s order on Thursday.
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