By Eric Gunn
Wisconsin Examiner (8/6/20)
Frustrated at threats from Republican lawmakers to overturn Wisconsin’s statewide mask mandate aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, a group of health care workers and supporters told reporters on the steps of the state Capitol on Thursday that the Legislature should set other priorities.
“On top of working a full shift, and overtime for a lot of us in a busy hospital, we’re then coming down here to ask our representatives to do their jobs — to do the bare minimum of what we expect from them. It’s infuriating, it’s frustrating and it shouldn’t have to happen.”
The Thursday press conference was organized by nurses and the Services Employees International Union’s SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin division. It was in response to statements this week by Republican legislative leaders and lawmakers calling for an extraordinary session to overturn both the new Health Emergency order signed by Gov. Tony Evers as well as the mandatory mask requirement the governor instituted effective Saturday, Aug. 1.
“For months we’ve been calling and emailing our elected leaders to tell them what we need and to ask them to vote on the Healthcare Heroes Act,” said Tami Burns, a Madison nurse. That proposal, unveiled in June by Democrats in the Legislature, would require paid sick leave and hazard pay for health care workers and coverage for their health care if they contract COVID-19. It would also authorize the state to take the federal subsidy to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. …
(Commoner Call photo by Mark L. Taylor, 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )