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In rare state address, Wisconsin Gov. Evers issues executive order, hints at upcoming COVID legislation

Rick Solem

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Gov. Tony Evers addressed Wisconsin on Tuesday evening, as the state hit record highs for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Evers issued Executive Order 94, but it is more of an advisory recommendation in helping try and slow the pandemic that’s taking over hospitals throughout the state.

“I’ve signed Executive Order 94, advising Wisconsinites to stay home to save lives,” Evers said in his first statewide address since taking office — outside of regularly scheduled events like the State of the State address in January.

Along with the executive order, Evers hinted at lawmakers may have some bills to sign.

“In the coming days, I’ll be announcing a package of COVID-19 legislation that should be passed quickly to make sure we have the resources ready for those who need it,” he said.

The Republican-controlled state Legislature hasn’t passed any bills since April 14.

Earlier Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he and Evers haven’t spoken in six months, because the two disagreed on how to handle the pandemic.

“Gov. Evers has consistently said he will not even talk to us until we have our own plan, which I think is idiotic,” Vos said. “As I’ve said how many times, you have to have the ability to sit down and talk about things that you think are important. … It’s one common goal, which is to help people make sure they can get through the virus.”

Vos didn’t have any specifics on what to do to combat the virus, minus expanding testing and urging the public to follow the guidelines.

After Evers’ speech, Vos said that could change.

“I think the people of Wisconsin want us to stop arguing about COVID and start working together to show that we can actually help to work together to solve the problem,” Vos said.

As for a plan, last weekend Sen. Patrick Testin, the Republican chair of the Senate’s health committee was taking suggestions. It’s been six months since the GOP sued the Evers administration over its plan, and seven months since passing any legislation.

“My door remains open to any and all suggestions that can put Wisconsin in a better place to help with the spread and surge of this virus,” Testin told WKOW. 

In his speech, Evers asked citizens to do a number of things — from masking up, to asking their Congress people to pass federal legislation to help those most impacted by the virus.

“The Federal Cares dollars we received earlier this year, expire on Dec. 31,” Evers said. “That means unless we get additional support from Congress, our state will have to foot the bill for our response after the new year.”

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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