Mask mandate override now part of state COVID relief bill

NOW: Mask mandate override now part of state COVID relief bill

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Republican efforts to dump Governor Tony Evers' mask mandate hit a major snag Thursday after lawmakers learned the bill jeopardized nearly $50 million in food aid.

Lawmakers are regrouping to get around that problem while still killing off the mask mandate.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said both will likely come up again next week.

He said lawyers are sorting through the workaround to keep the food aid.

He also said a veto from the governor will end lawmakers' efforts at COVID relief.

"I hate being caught by surprise, we usually don't have that happen," said Vos.

Vos said eliminating Wisconsin's mask mandate shouldn't cost 243,000 Wisconsin homes $50 million in food aid, but it does for now.

"I wish the (state) Senate had done some more due diligence," said Vos.

His goal is to limit the governor's powers. He said a workaround the state passed Thursday accomplishes both goals, but he said the lawyers are checking it out.

"We are not convinced it doesn't grant unforeseen powers to the governor that might allow him to do things that certainly wasn't the (state) Senate's intent," said Vos.

Democratic Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) is furious with the whole effort.

"You missed that we can miss $49 million," said Taylor.

She said the COVID relief bill is full of problems. She blasted a provision requiring school boards to vote every two weeks on keeping schools closed during a pandemic.

"Every two weeks, we don't meet every two weeks, you didn't even meet for 264 days," said Taylor.

However, with Republicans in control of both chambers, Vos said this is the deal. Take it or leave it.

"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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