Wisconsin Governor Wants To Continue to Attack All Churches, Vetoes Repeals of Authority
For the second time this year, Democrat Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed a ban on closing churches due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a prohibition on mandatory COVID vaccines. Both measures had been approved twice by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature.
Assembly Bill 24, which passed the Assembly and Senate in March and mid-April, would have banned the state Department of Health Services from closing churches or preventing religious gatherings in an effort to control the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Evers vetoed a similar provision in late January.
Evers told legislators the bill would limit tools available to fight COVID. "&Our response to this pandemic should be about following the science and public health experts, not finding ways to make it harder to fight it," he said. "It should be about working together to save as many lives as we can."
The governor also vetoed Assembly Bill 23, which would have banned governments and employers from requiring individuals receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Evers used the identical language in his veto message as that used for AB-24. He vetoed a similar measure in January.
"Assembly Bills 23 and 24 were advanced by two legislative committees and passed two houses of the Legislature with bipartisan support," said Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, a Republican from Fond du Lac who was primary author of both measures. "These bills stand up for individual freedoms and choice. It is alarming that Governor Evers has chosen to place constitutional freedoms behind his own authority."