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Author: Wisconsin Examiner

Wisconsin’s public health plan now depends on individuals to voluntarily wear masks to stay safe

With the only mandatory statewide measure against the coronavirus pandemic now history, a divided state Supreme Court has left battling the virus up to the voluntary choices of each Wisconsin resident — and to the power of local health departments. The 4-3 ruling on March 31 by the court’s conservative majority ended the most recent state of emergency declaration from Gov. Tony Evers to address the pandemic and blocked him from instituting a new one. With it, the court also ended the most recent statewide mask order. Coupled with last May’s ruling that canceled state’s shelter-in-place order known as...

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A Pandemic Year: Looking back to when Wisconsin declared a COVID-19 crisis and the road still ahead

March 12 marks a year since Wisconsin issued the first COVID-19 health emergency, and the anniversary offers a moment to consider what comes next for health and for society. When Governor Tony Evers issued the declaration on Thursday, March 12, 2020, five Wisconsin residents had been confirmed positive with the novel coronavirus. A year later that number has multiplied by 110,000. In Wisconsin, the virus SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 566,000 people, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). It has taken nearly 6,500 lives. The world looks very different than it did 12 months ago. And...

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State senator proposes law mandating Wisconsin sporting events play National Anthem

Wisconsin State Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) proposed a bill on February 24 that would require the national anthem be played before sporting events taking place in facilities that have received taxpayer funding. This would include the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Fiserv Forum and the Milwaukee Brewers’ American Family Field. Testin’s “Star Spangled Banner Act” is targeted at a “small but vocal group of activists” who object to the playing of the anthem. This year, the Dallas Mavericks quietly stopped playing the anthem before games and the decision went unnoticed for 13 games. The Mavericks...

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Senator Tammy Baldwin introduces bipartisan legislation for Veterans exposed to toxic military base

Legislation introduced on February 25 would require the Veterans Administration to assume responsibility for treating U.S. service members who became ill after being exposed to cancer-causing toxic materials nearly 20 years ago at a former Soviet air base in Uzbekistan. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CN) along with Reps. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) and Mark Green (R-TN), follows news media reports as well as a Congressional investigation into the extensive contamination at the K2 Air Base, which the U.S. leased from the Uzbek government from 2001 to 2005. Some 15,000 service members...

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Conspiracies and Extremism: How the Wisconsin GOP lost its credibility over the turmoil of 2020

From the early days of the pandemic to the fever-pitched and riotous last days of the Trump presidency, Wisconsin’s conservative movement was swept up in conspiracies and extremism in 2020. Over the past year, online provocateurs, fringe lawyers, Republican lawmakers, wealthy donors, militias and right-wing media created a feedback loop that poisoned politics in Wisconsin and the country. This web became a mechanism of radicalization, starting with Facebook groups formed to organize protests against coronavirus lockdowns and culminating in the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Anti-government sentiment, mistrust of experts, racial dog whistling and flirtation...

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The Big Lie: Wisconsin Republicans use Trump’s propaganda to extend voter suppression across state

It did not take Wisconsin Republicans long to try to capitalize on the Big Lie. On February 22, State Senator Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville), along with State Senator Alberta Darling (R- River Hills), and State Representatives Cindi Duchow (R-Town of Delafield) and Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin), circulated a batch of bills that would make it harder for Wisconsinites to vote. Cynically noting that Americans are “skeptical about the integrity of our elections,” Stroebel failed to mention the huge role that Donald Trump and his GOP accomplices played in ginning up that skepticism with their bogus claims. Piling on the cynicism, he...

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