Republicans in Wisconsin’s legislature voted Thursday to repeal the state’s mask mandate, in what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted was the body’s first bill passed to address the pandemic in 10 months. The resolution passed 52-42, with seven Republicans voting with every Democrat in the heavily gerrymandered Assembly to oppose the measure. Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, a Republican, explained his vote as being against the “rule by fiat” of Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat. “I know you want to make it about masks. It’s not. It’s about the rule of law,” Steinke said.
Minutes after the vote, Evers announced he would be issuing a new mask mandate. “I promised I would never play politics with your health,” Evers said in a video announcement. “No amount of vaccine in the world could bring back the lives we stand to lose if we have no statewide mitigation strategy.”