Despite growing coronavirus cases and deaths, state lawmakers remain stuck on response

NOW: Despite growing coronavirus cases and deaths, state lawmakers remain stuck on response

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Despite setting new records in coronavirus cases and deaths, state lawmakers have still not been able to agree on how to react.

Both sides say they want to find a solution for all Wisconsinites, but the GOP-led state legislature has only met once since the pandemic began.

Wisconsin Republican Robin Vos says GOP leaders want a partnership.

"It's not about having competing plans," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said. "It's about having a plan that everybody can buy into."

In April, state legislators passed a bi-partisan bill to complement federal aid.

Since then, GOP leaders say they want to talk but have not met with Democrats or Governor Tony Evers.

“I’ve been sitting here at this table, which is the same place I sat about once a week for months now, and have yet to hear any ideas, plans or solutions," Evers said.

With the upcoming November election, political expert Mordecai Lee said Republicans are leaning on ambiguity.

“For the Republican legislators who are in state Assembly running for reelection in the state Senate, they don’t want their election in three weeks to be a referendum on wearing masks," said Lee, who is also a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Republicans have pushed back against the governor’s public health orders.

This week, a judge stopped the latest attempt to end the statewide mask mandate.

“Ending our public health emergency in the midst of a global pandemic would have serious consequences for our state. Regardless, Wisconsinites deserve to know where their elected leaders stand," Evers said.

"Tell us what you need that isn't already allowed by the bill that we passed or under current statutes and we are more than happy to work on that," Vos said.

Lee believes that “compromise” has turned into a curse for Wisconsin politics, and could be chipping away at voter trust.

“And if we’re on a downward slope in terms of trust, that’s very dangerous for the future of Wisconsin politics," he explained.

Right now, a Republican-led committee is challenging the latest Evers/Department of Health Services order limiting indoor public capacity to 25-percent.

That order is set to end Nov. 6.

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