Thursday afternoon, the State Assembly passed a resolution to repeal the statewide mask mandate put in place by Gov. Tony Evers.
The resolution passed with a 52-42 vote, with a majority of Republicans supporting overturning the mask mandate and Democrats opposing. Seven Republicans joined with Democrats in voting against the resolution.
The resolution would have gone into effect Friday, Feb. 5th, leaving Wisconsin without any statewide coronavirus restrictions. Then, Evers released a statement within an hour of the vote, announcing that he would once again issue a new public health emergency and an order requiring face coverings in public places.
Since the beginning of this pandemic, I promised I would:— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) February 4, 2021
1️⃣never play politics with your health
2️⃣trust and follow science and public health experts
3️⃣never stop doing everything I can to keep you healthy and safe
I haven’t broken those promises and I won’t start today. pic.twitter.com/kfN4J2aE2k
“Every step of the way, our statewide strategies to contain this virus and prevent the spread have been met with lawsuit, political rhetoric, and obstruction,” he said. “Unfortunately, that happened today.”
This continues his pattern of re-issuing public health orders after the state-mandated 60-day limit is reached. Republicans argue that those re-issues are not within his authority, as they are all in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and not separate emergencies.
A pending Supreme Court case could decide the issue, with the court ruling that Evers either does or does not need Legislative approval to extend a public health emergency every 60 days.
We will continue to update this story as news progresses.