Empower Wisconsin | April 21, 2020 (CATEGORY: News) (Photo attached.)
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers failed to listen to the “resounding outcry from the people of the state” in unveiling his plan to slowly reopen Wisconsin, according to Republican legislative leaders.
Evers on Monday announced his “Badger Bounce Back” plan to slowly draw down his emergency orders that have effectively locked down the state for more than a month. It requires two consecutive weeks of declining COVID-19 and influenza-like illness reports before a re-start can begin. That clock won’t start until Evers’ extended Safer at Home edict expires on May 26.
The Democrat says health officials will ramp up testing, to 85,000 per week. They’ll also expand efforts to track the spread of coronavirus.
But does Wisconsin’s battered economy have that long? Business advocates don’t think so.
“Unfortunately, there were more questions about the governor’s plan than answers following the release,” Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce stated in a daily update.
Chief among the concerns is the lack of a fixed date to begin the re-start.
“Instead of listening to the resounding outcry from the people of the state, Governor Evers is now making it harder to reopen Wisconsin,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).
Not surprisingly, part of Evers’ plan is to grow government. The liberal proposes hiring 1,000 new “contract tracers” to track COVID-19 encounters, even though positive cases aren’t seeing significant increases.
“The governor also wants to postpone reopening until we increase testing when we are currently using only around 20% of our testing capacity. These are not criteria for reopening, they’re roadblocks,” the Republican leaders said.
Republicans assert Evers’ plan is a one-size-fits all roadmap to reopening, failing to take into consideration the many areas of the state that have relatively few coronavirus cases.
Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) predicted the Evers administration will use the criteria to justify a potentially lengthy lockdown beyond the end of May, “while offering unreachable hope for reopening the Wisconsin economy.”
“They will claim it matches President Trump’s guidelines for reopening the U.S. economy, but the only major similarity is in using 14-day increments,” Nass said in a statement.
“There can now be little doubt that the extreme actions of Governor Evers and (DHS) Secretary-Designee (Andrea) Palm have pushed us into a constitutional crisis,” he added.
That constitutional crisis will be met by “impending legal action,” according to Republican leadership.