Wisconsin Doctors Back Mask Ban as Legislature Eyes Repeal
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Medical Society on Monday announced its opposition to a Republican-authored resolution that would overturn the statewide mask mandate put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The state Senate planned to vote Tuesday on the resolution. The Assembly, also in session on Tuesday, has not said if it will vote on the resolution. The resolution must pass the Senate and Assembly to undo the mask mandate.
Resolutions do not require the signature of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to take effect.
The board of directors for the medical society, which represents doctors and advocates on their behalf, voted Saturday to support the continuation of the mask mandate issued by Evers and oppose the GOP resolution. The group, the state’s largest for individual doctors, announced the action on Monday.
“Other than vaccines, mask-wearing is one of the few tools we have in our arsenal to help prevent spreading COVID-19 even further than it already has,” Dr. Bud Chumbley, chief operating officer of the medical society, said in a statement.
The resolution overturning the mask order has nine cosponsors in the Senate and 19 in the Assembly, all Republicans. Neither Assembly Speaker Robin Vos nor GOP Majority Leader Jim Steineke have co-sponsored the resolution or said if the Assembly would take it up. Republican Assembly members were expected to discuss it during a closed caucus meeting Tuesday ahead of the session.
Evers’ mask mandate is also being challenged in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which heard arguments in November and could issue a ruling at any point.