Governor Evers Vetoes COVID-19 Response Legislation

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a Republican COVID-19 relief package Friday within hours of the Senate approving the bill.

The Senate voted 19-11 along party lines to pass the first COVID-19 relief package sent to Evers’ desk since April. The legislation would have implemented coronavirus liability protections for businesses and schools and given the GOP-controlled budget committee the ability to transfer $100 million in certain appropriations for COVID-19 expenses, among other things.

However, the package, which has bounced back and forth between the GOP-led chambers in the Legislature for the last month and at one time included language Evers said he would sign, also included Republican-authored amendments the governor has opposed, including measures to limit his use of emergency orders and give Republicans in the Legislature authority over how the state spends future federal COVID-19 dollars.

“Wisconsinites know a compromise when they see one, and this isn’t it,” Evers said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Republicans once again chose to put politics before people, abandoned that compromise, and passed a bill they knew I wouldn’t sign.”

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, issued a joint statement condemning Evers’ veto against legislation they said “provides the state more than $100 million to fight the virus and ensures that Wisconsinites have access to necessary medications, vaccines and COVID-19 tests.”