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Capital City Sunday: Governor Evers, Rep. Steineke & Sen. Ron Johnson

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Tony Evers offers his advice to businesses and local governments after the State Supreme Court tossed out his safer at home order, claiming it caused statewide confusion.

Evers is encouraging business owners to follow Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation guidelines on how to safely reopen.

Evers said there likely won't be another statewide plan to address the pandemic because it will be difficult to negotiate with Republican leaders.

"The leaders were very clear they are not interested in any restrictions so I'm not sure what bipartisan solution will be here," he said. "Don't expect this grand bargain, because the bargain has already been struck at the Supreme Court has caused that to happen."

Evers, who told 27 News he has not been tested for COVID-19, said regardless of the Supreme Court ruling, the state will continue testing efforts, contract tracing, and supply our frontline health care workers with personal protective gear.

FUTURE OF K-12, HIGHER ED

The governor said his goal is to reopen K-12 schools by this fall, setting the bar high, and said if the virus takes a turn the state will reevaluate.

Some reopening ideas for classrooms include limiting the number of days kids attend in-person instruction and do the rest of the days online.

As for the future of the UW System the outlook is different. Evers said it would be a challenge to reopen campuses that house thousands of students, many attending UW campuses from overseas.

"Already you're seeing across the county large systems this fall might not happen and especially with a surge, that might be the case here, but we're working on it will need to get answers soon," said Evers.

NOVEMBER ELECTION, DNC OUTLOOK

After several local election clerks across the state expressed grave concern about moving forward with in-person voting on April 7, Governor Evers said he believes the state will be better prepared for November's presidential election.

"I'm still encouraging people to vote by mail and making sure we're able to do that in a thoughtful way, not rush it like we did in April," he said.

As for the outlook of the Democratic National Convention slated to be held in Milwaukee this August, Evers was asked if the event should be held virtually due to the pandemic.

"I think it's the smartest way. I've talked to some of the leadership to ensure every delegate that's coming in is COVID-19 free and there are ways to do that. I think it could happen. It's just my observation it would be a virtual event."

REPUBLICANS ENCOURAGE LOCAL CONTROL ON COVID-19 OUTBREAK

After people swarmed to bars across the state shortly after the ruling, counties such as Dane and Rock County implemented their own safer at home orders, keeping businesses, restaurants, and taverns closed. 

Other counties are opting to give guidelines on how to safely open, and some are offering nothing at all.

GOP leaders said they prefer having local public health departments issue their own restrictions in battling the coronavirus pandemic. 

“When it comes to restrictions, we truly believe those should be done on local bases and the county health departments have all the tools necessary to do those kinds of restrictions if they feel they're necessary in their communities,” Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said to 27 News.

Steineke also said he believes lifting restrictions will cause a surge in new cases.

SENATOR RON JOHNSON: COVID-19 RELIEF BILL

As members of Congress continue to negotiate another relief package for Americans some Republicans believe it's too soon to pass another one.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said he rather wait to see how active the virus us in the next few weeks before supporting another stimulus bill.

Instead, Johnson said he wants certainty for businesses and large operations if they were to get sued after reopening if employees get sick.

"I think we need unconditional liability protection, I don't think anybody should be sued because someone else gets infected," said Johnson.

Johnson also discusses the latest fallout after he and Sen. Church Grassley revealed the names of Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of Americans named in intelligence documents.

The list includes top Obama officials and former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee whom Trump's critics have increasingly tied to the Flynn investigation in recent days.

President Trump claims the Obama White House was trying to undermine him and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The documents do not prove any wrongdoing.

"I'm drawing no conclusions from it but we need transparency," said Johnson.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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