Milwaukee, WI – Today, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules voted by paper ballot to block the UW system from implementing COVID-19 safety measures. Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement regarding the vote:

“It is disgraceful that Republican Senators would exceed the committee’s authority in an attempt to block health and safety measures crucial to protecting our students, especially when COVID is the worst it’s been in months. Over the past two weeks, there has been an 120% increase in COVID cases. With the rise of the Delta variant and continued insufficient vaccination rates we are far from being over this pandemic, and now is absolutely not the time for their dangerous political games.

“By torpedoing these public health measures during a pandemic, Sen. Nass and legislative Republicans are showing they have no regard for the health and safety of our students or faculty. Playing political gatekeeper in this situation is like shorting out a tornado siren during a tornado watch. It’s reckless and puts our entire community in greater danger.

“It is imperative that the UW system has the resources and flexibility necessary to look after their students, faculty, and staff. Without the proper resources to do so, we will once again overwhelm our healthcare systems, slow the recovering economy, and add to the 8,295 Wisconsin deaths this pandemic has already claimed.

“It seems as though Republicans have failed to grasp the fact that this is a public health crisis, not just a problem that only affects those who choose to believe in it. Republicans’ careless decision to invoke ‘personal decisions’ should not supersede public safety.”

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