Reps in the News: March 20-27

Governor Tony Evers

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers acknowledged that he couldn’t explain why he vetoed a bill that would have allowed raffles using a paddle-wheel device.

“You caught me,” Evers said after being asked by a reporter on March 12 to explain his veto earlier in the week of the bipartisan paddle-wheel raffle bill.

The measure, which the Legislature passed unanimously, would have allowed anyone with a Class B gambling license to conduct a raffle using a paddle wheel. Such devices are often used at meat raffles to award winners, even though the devices are currently illegal.

Evers was asked about the veto on Thursday after signing a bill in Wausau creating additional circuit branches.

“Can you just take us through your thought process on that?” the reporter from Wausau’s WSAU-AM asked.

Those in attendance can be heard laughing in an audio clip posted by the Wisconsin Radio Network.

“We’ll get you the information on that,” Evers said to more laughter. “I signed over 100 bills two days ago and vetoed a handful of other ones. You caught me.”

The bill was one of two that Evers vetoed March 10. Its sponsor, Republican Sen. André Jacque, said the goal was to change the law to benefit church, civic, veterans’ and other groups that were “unknowingly and unintentionally committing a felony-level offense.”

Source: La Crosse Tribune

Representative Mike Gallagher

Rep. Mike Gallagher released the following statement after voting against a House bill that will provide resources to aid the coronavirus response.

“This bill, while well-intentioned, contains a number of unclear provisions that could force small businesses in northeast Wisconsin to lay off workers or cause them to close their doors altogether. To concede, as both sides did, that the bill had serious flaws that would need to be fixed by to-be-determined executive-branch regulations is legislative malpractice, and that’s not to mention the fact [that] we received this bill at 12:03 am and voted nearly 15 minutes later.

“Let me be clear: H.R. 6201 contained a number of good provisions like free testing that we’ve already successfully fought for. But I have serious questions as to whether the best way to support those needing paid and sick leave is through tax credits to small businesses instead of direct payments to those affected. 

“In times like these, we have to do better than rushed, closed-door deals that could create more problems than solutions. We had more time to get this right, and the fact [that] Speaker Pelosi is now allowing the House [to] take a weeklong vacation is unconscionable. We all agree those living paycheck to paycheck shouldn’t have to decide between going to work or endangering their coworkers, but we need a solution that doesn’t cause severe and unintended economic damage. 

“I hope the Senate fixes these problems on Monday [March 16] and that we return immediately to debate a responsible, bicameral, bipartisan response.”

Source: Gallagher press release

Senator Tammy Baldwin

In light of the ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and in an effort to ensure that more Americans have access to affordable health care, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and 24 other senators are urging the Trump administration to open a special enrollment period to allow people without health insurance to purchase an Affordable Care Act plan through the health-insurance marketplaces.

Currently, about 27.5 million Americans lack health insurance of any kind, and even more are underinsured or have “junk plans,” which could still leave them facing expensive medical bills if they were hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 or other health issues. 

“We are deeply concerned that individuals and families will be forced to choose between getting tested and seeking care for COVID-19 to protect themselves, their families and communities from further spread and being left with thousands of dollars in bills that they are unable to pay,” the senators wrote. 

“In addition, when the uninsured or underinsured are unable to pay their medical bills, it is health-care providers who are left to make up the shortfall. Health-care providers are already relying on emergency resources to pay for increased capacity and medical supplies in order to be prepared for further spread of COVID-19. 

“As such, and given the ongoing, unprecedented public-health crisis, we ask that HHS and CMS work to establish special enrollment periods for anyone seeking individual or family coverage through the health exchanges.”

Source: Baldwin press release