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Wisconsin Senate boss: Challenging Gov. Evers’ mask order about more than masks

Wisconsin Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald 

(The Center Square) – The move to possibly overrule Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandates is not about the masks.

Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the concerns from lawmakers include how the governor is using his emergency powers and how he might apply those powers next.

“I thought we were in a good place, I thought it was working out fine, I thought people were complying if they felt strongly about [masks],” Fitzgerald told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber Monday morning. “But once again Gov. Evers has pushed it further. And now we’re considering going-in because we are very concerned about where the school decision lies right now.”

Fitzgerald said the scuttlebutt around the Capitol is the governor will use his emergency powers to cancel the start of school.

Fitzgerald said Republicans in the Senate want to curb the governor’s powers to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“That’s 75/25,” Fitzgerald said. “It doesn’t matter which party you are in, parents are saying ‘We’ve got to get the kids back in school.’ That’s the most important thing right now.”

Wisconsin’s five largest teachers’ unions have been pushing Evers for weeks to require all schools across the state to start the new school year online. Many of the communities where those unions are located – including Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay – have already said that they are starting with online classes only.

Fitzgerald said the Wisconsin Senate is ready to come back to Madison to overrule the governor at any time. It’s the Assembly that may need some more time.

“I’ve talked to the Speaker. He’s got 60-some members, they have a lot more opinions I would think.”

Fitzgerald said that will make agreement much tougher to reach.

But Fitzgerald said there has to be an agreement to call a special session, an agreement to write the resolution that will override the governor, and an agreement on how to move forward.

“The Speaker and I and our members have to figure out exactly where we are on this,” Fitzgerald added.

Fitzgerald said it doesn’t make sense to wait around for a couple of weeks.

School in Wisconsin is supposed to start on Sept. 1.

Evers’ mask order went into effect on Saturday and stays in effect for 60 days.

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