Gov. Evers withdraws virus plan outline amid GOP opposition

Gov. Tony Evers during the DHS briefing on 5/8/2020 (WSAW photo)
Gov. Tony Evers during the DHS briefing on 5/8/2020 (WSAW photo)(WSAW)
Published: May. 18, 2020 at 1:15 PM CDT
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Gov. Tony Evers’ administration withdrew its outline Monday for a new emergency rule to manage the coronavirus pandemic amid intense Republican opposition.

State Department of Health Services officials notified state Senate President Roger Roth and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in a letter that they have withdrawn the rule’s scope statement from consideration. The letter didn’t offer any explanation. Scope statements are the first step toward promulgating a rule; such statements are broad outlines of what the rules will do.

The DHS released the scope statement Thursday, a day after the state Supreme Court struck down Evers’ stay-at-home order. The statement said the rule could “re-articulate” parts of Evers’ stay-at-home order.

Republican state Sen. Steve Nass, co-chairman of the Legislature’s rules committee, demanded on Friday that DHS withdraw the scope statement, saying the administration is trying to get around the Supreme Court ruling and re-implement the stay-at-home order. The rules committee has the final say on whether an emergency rule can take effect.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Evers might do next. His spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, didn’t immediately return messages. The Supreme Court ruling has driven local health officials to impose their own stay-at-home orders, creating a patchwork of varying regulations across the state.

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