Gov. Evers aims to unify divided state government to fight COVID-19 crisis

NOW: Gov. Evers aims to unify divided state government to fight COVID-19 crisis

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Governor Tony Evers called for unity during his primetime address on COVID-19 Tuesday night, but he will have to clear the hurdle of a Republican-controlled Legislature that has met the governor’s previous mitigation efforts with some friction.

“The fight against this virus is winnable,” Evers said in his address. “But only if we fight it together.”

In addition to an executive order advising Wisconsinites to “stay home to save lives,” Evers also announced he would roll out new coronavirus legislation in the coming days.

Republican leadership is lukewarm to the governor’s approach.

“If it’s just more of the same, where he knows we’re going to have concerns about that, I think that’s counterproductive,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R – Rochester) told reporters following the governor’s address Tuesday night. “How about we try it differently than we have before which is to have us sit down, talk, have an understanding of things that we can support, things that we might not have the same level of support for.”

Democrats expect Evers to unveil his legislation soon and then call a Special Session to have the Assembly and Senate vote on it. It’s an approach that Republicans have been resistant to in the past.

“I hope the Republicans take it seriously this time, and if they don’t want this, then we need to know what they want,” Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D – West Point) told CBS 58 in an interview. Erpenbach sits on the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and is hopeful both sides can agree on moving forward with the governor’s legislation.

While Republicans accuse the governor of not working on a bipartisan basis, Democrats like Erpenbach say resistance from the GOP has hurt the state’s efforts to control the virus.

“You know, COVID-19 is not a democrat or republican issue, neither is wearing a mask, but you would think in Wisconsin that’s what it’s become and that’s too bad.”

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