MADISON, Wis. – Republicans lawmakers are putting pressure on Gov. Tony Evers to speed up the vaccine rollout in Wisconsin.
In an effort to get more Wisconsinites vaccinated faster, Republicans took up a proposal Thursday requiring DHS to present its vaccination plan to the Legislature no later than February 28.
Under the bill, the general public would also be eligible for vaccines no later than March 15.
“When I talk to fellow legislators from around the country or friends and family that live in another state, they are shocked that we don't have what other states do where you can go online, find out where you can get a vaccination, register for an appointment, get a confirmation email, maybe a text to say when your turn is up,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said. “We have none of those tools in place right now.”
The bill passed by the Assembly Thursday would also require immediately prioritizing everyone over age 60.
Right now, only those over age 65 are eligible for the vaccine.
“There was also never a plan for vaccine distribution, and every single state in the country, including Wisconsin, is struggling with the supply issue,” Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) said.
Meanwhile, Democrats pointed fingers at the previous Trump administration and said the whole problem is a matter of the federal government not providing enough doses to meet the demand.
“So I mean this is just more kind of, you know 'Aha!' or 'We got the governor!' or 'We gotcha guys' or 'Look what we're doing!' It's not real,” Hintz said. “It doesn't make any more vaccines appear. It doesn't address the problem that exists. I am hopeful. I am hearing serious talk and a serious plan and serious efforts by the administration, by the Biden administration.”
State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin), who authored the bill, called out his colleagues across the aisle for not backing his proposal.
“If you believe that your primary job as a legislator in this building is to lay a smokescreen and protect the governor of his short failings and the failures of his administration, then you're going to vote 'no' on this bill,” Sanfelippo said.
The Assembly also voted in favor of another proposal allowing pharmacy students and technicians to administer the vaccine.
Both measures now go to the Senate.