Gov. Evers won't commit to issuing another mask order, urges Republicans to reconsider

NOW: Gov. Evers won’t commit to issuing another mask order, urges Republicans to reconsider

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Governor Evers won’t commit to issuing another mask mandate, even as Republicans plan to eliminate it as soon as next week.

Evers and many Democrats in the state took a sigh of relief after Republicans in the Assembly postponed their vote to repeal the mask order on Thursday. 

The governor said he’s hoping lawmakers will reconsider as now more than 50 organizations have issued their opposition to the resolution to repeal the mandate. 

“It’s unbelievable to me that we can have the entire health world opposing them striking down this order,” Evers said during a media briefing. “Our order is still in place, the Assembly doesn’t have to kick it down the road.”

The Assembly will have the final say in the coming days whether or not Wisconsin will become one of only 10 states to not have a statewide mask requirement. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) committed to rescheduling the vote as soon as they receive clarity from lawyers who are sorting through a workaround to keep federal funding for the state’s FoodShare program. 

Republicans realized revoking the mask mandate could result in the state losing $49 million a month for a program that helps feed low-income families. 

Republicans continue to argue Evers cannot issue multiple emergency orders back to back without input from the legislature.

“That is our argument and that is why it is in the Supreme Court -- it is illegal,” said Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater).

COVID-19 Bill in Jeopardy, Again

The governor also hinted that he would likely veto a COVID-19 bill after Republicans added several changes to the legislation that continues to bounce back and forth between the Assembly and Senate.

On Thursday, the Senate added many provisions to the bill previously opposed by Gov. Evers after the Assembly pushed for their proposal to be included. 

Items that returned to the bill include prohibiting employers from requiring their employees to get vaccinated, a ban on closing churches and other places of worship, and allowing the Republican-led budget committee the ability to have oversight on how the state spends federal funds related to the pandemic. 

Nearly all of those ideas are opposed by Evers, which puts the fate of the bill in limbo. 

"If the governor doesn't sign this deal, unfortunately, that's probably it, we're not going to keep coming back and having this situation where we argue," said Vos.

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