Wisconsin lawmakers hold public hearing at Capitol despite warning of potential protests

NOW: Wisconsin lawmakers hold public hearing at Capitol despite warning of potential protests

MADISON (CBS 58) -- There were only a few law enforcement officers monitoring the state Capitol on Inauguration Day as officials prepared for possible protests in wake of the unrest at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. 

Things remained quiet at the state Capitol Wednesday, less than a half dozen protesters showed up briefly in opposition of Joe Biden becoming the 46th President of the United States.

Despite the Madison Police Department encouraging lawmakers and Wisconsinites to stay away from the Capitol out of precaution, Republicans on the Assembly Health Committee held a public hearing on a COVID-19 bill. 

"I’ve looked out my window several times today, there’s not a single thing happening out there, so there’s no reason why we should not be conducting business," said Joe Sanfelippo, (R-New Berlin). 

This week, state and federal officials warned there could be violent protests at state Capitols, but Rep. Joe Sanfelippo said he decided to schedule a public hearing anyways in hopes to pass his proposal to allow pharmacy technicians and students to administer vaccines.

"The business continued during Act 10, so I see no reason why we should delay something as serious as this COVID legislation because of some potential threats," said Sanfelippo.

Democrats on the committee said despite things remaining calm at the Capitol, they were still surprised they were expected to show up. 

"Why today and not a different day, I think is the question," said Daniel Riemer, (D-Milwaukee). "Is it impossible to have this hearing tomorrow? Could we have done it yesterday?" 

Rep. Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa), who also serves on the health committee, said she’s on board with discussing ways to speed up the vaccination process in the state, but would have rather debated the proposal weeks ago instead of holding a hearing on Inauguration Day. 

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