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LeMahieu, Steineke Stand By Conflicting COVID Relief Bills

By John Forester | January 20, 2021

From WisPolitics.com . . .

LeMahieu and Steineke continued to stand by conflicting COVID-19 bills.

The Assembly passed its COVID bill along party lines the first week of January before the Senate amended it by stripping out a host of provisions and passing a bill LeMahieu had negotiated with Evers. The centerpiece of the Senate version is the liability protections for businesses, non-profits, schools and others; it was also included in the Assembly version.

“Obviously, we like the bill that we passed,” Steineke said. “If you talk to senators individually about the items that were in there that they took out, you’d probably find a lot of support for those items. … We’ve got to find a way forward, and we’ll be trying to figure out what that is over the rest of the next few days.”

GOP senators have taken several of those provisions that were pulled from the bill and put them into standalone legislation. The Senate Human Services, Children and Families Committee has a public hearing Thursday on five of the bills. They include: prohibiting mandatory COVID-19 vaccines; prohibiting employers from requiring a vaccine as a condition of employment; adding new restrictions on how school districts can move to virtual instruction; stripping state and local officials of powers to limit gatherings in a place of worship; and directing DHS not to prioritize prisoners for the vaccine.

Many of the provisions the Senate stripped out of the Assembly bill were dropped in an attempt to secure Evers’ support for the bill.

Steineke and LeMahieu both said they haven’t spoken with the guv lately about the bills.

“We want a bill that will be signed into law,” LeMahieu said in an interview with WisPolitics.com. “I’m not sure what the Assembly will change. I’d still really like them to take up the version we sent over to them.”

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