Vos, Assembly Republicans share COVID-19 legislation

MADISON, Wis. — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his Republican colleagues announced Tuesday evening a package of legislative initiatives meant to address the ongoing pandemic.

Vos and Assembly Republicans proposed creating a $100 million fund for the state’s coronavirus response, establishing legislative oversight of a vaccine distribution plan, doubling the number of public health staff responding to the coronavirus, requiring teachers to be physically present in school buildings by the end of January, offering weekly rapid antigen tests for home use, allowing family members to visit nursing home residents under certain conditions, and more.

“After working through ideas and discussions with Assembly GOP members, we have created a robust package to address the critical needs of our state,” Vos said.

The package also includes proposals to limit the power of local health officials by prohibiting them from ordering closures or capacity restrictions for specific types of businesses unless the restriction applies to all types equally. Any closure or capacity restriction would require scientific reasoning and a timeline.

Another proposal would prohibit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and local health officials from requiring individuals to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The proposal would also prohibit employers from requiring employees to get vaccinated.

With exceptions, the initiatives would require teachers to instruct from school buildings by the end of January. They also call for a two-thirds school board approval for virtual instruction and $371 payments to parents for students who have had at least 50% virtual learning since September.

The legislative proposals come roughly two weeks after Gov. Evers shared a coronavirus relief bill to address the pandemic.

“Wisconsin needs a comprehensive response and Assembly Republicans are ready to act before the end of the year,” Vos said. “We look forward to working with our legislative colleagues and the Governor on bipartisan solutions that the state deserves in this crisis.”

The state Legislature has not taken any action on COVID-19 in more than seven months.

A full list of the proposals is available here.