COVID-19 relief bill in jeopardy after Assembly makes changes
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Disagreements over what should be included in the next COVID-19 relief bill at the Capitol continue after the Assembly added several provisions to the legislation this week.
Governor Evers was on board with a COVID-19 compromise bill passed by the Senate earlier this month and said he would sign it, but that agreement is now in limbo after the Democrats say Assembly Republicans added controversial amendments.
The changes to the bill include a ban to require employees to get vaccinated and prohibiting the closure of places of worship during the pandemic.
“Well, I was hoping we had a deal,” said Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac), Assistant Majority Leader.
Feyen said he’s concerned the changes to the bill might not get support in his chamber or with the governor.
"That is one thing I do worry about, we do need to get a COVID bill done," he said.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) believes the amendments are common sense and shouldn’t be controversial.
“We also want to get a bill to the governor,” he said.
Prior to making the amendments to the bill, Assembly Republicans passed their own COVID-19 bill that also included proposals opposed by Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu.
Those items included prohibiting local governments from closing businesses for more than two weeks, requiring the governor to submit plans on how to spend federal funds and requiring school boards to vote every two weeks if they chose to continue virtual learning.
“We agreed to take those out and we will bring up legislation in the future...but wanted to ultimately get a bill that is signed,” said Vos.
It remains uncertain whether or not the Senate will take up the amended version passed by the Assembly this week. Both chambers are scheduled to be in session on Thursday.
Final Vote: Repealing the Mask Mandate
The Assembly will also take the final vote necessary on Thursday to repeal the statewide mask mandate.
The resolution would strike down the order which was recently extended by Gov. Evers in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.
If the resolution passes, local governments and places like grocery stores will still be allowed to enforce their own face covering requirement.