Gov. Evers vetoes COVID-19 bill passed by Legislature, calls for compromise

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has officially vetoed a bill just passed by the Legislature, saying it limits the state’s response to the pandemic.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1 passed the State Senate Friday afternoon, with Democrats warning the bill was doomed for a veto after the Assembly previously rejected a bipartisan agreement that was made by the governor and Republican leadership in the State Senate.

“Wisconsinites know a compromise when they see one, and this isn’t it,” Gov. Evers said in a release announcing the veto. “We had a bill that Republicans and Democrats supported—and one that I said I would sign if it was sent to my desk—that passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote.”

Evers indicated he would sign the Senate compromise bill — which was a pared down version of the Assembly bill, removing provisions that would ban local health officials from ordering businesses closed for more than two weeks at a time and block employers from mandating vaccinations — in mid-January. However, Assembly Republicans rejected that proposal.

Evers accused Republicans in the Assembly of abandoning compromise and called for the Legislature to send him the bill that was previously negotiated with the Senate.

“Wisconsinites don’t care about political points or who gets the credit. They just want to know that their family, their business, and their neighbors are going to be okay as we continue to fight this virus,” Evers said.

“Enough politics — just get it done.”

The bill was the first piece of legislation passed in nearly a year — 296 days.

In a letter sent to the Assembly on Friday, Evers said elected officials should lead by example and work together in combating COVID-19 in the state.

“As I have said all along, our response to the pandemic should be about doing what’s best for people, not politics,” Evers said. “It should be about following the science and public health experts. It should be about working together to save as many lives as we can.”