Subsequent to my letter to our state officials (I do not suggest my letter had anything to do with it), Senator Fitzgerald and Representative Vos sent a letter to the Governor’s Secretary-Designee of the Department of Health Services. They state:
Legislative leaders have repeatedly asked Governor Evers to work with them to develop a plan, but he refuses to give us a seat at the table.
They called for “immediate, cooperative work” and asked the Governor and Secretart-Designee to “work with us immediately.”
You can read the full letter here. Since I publiicly called for legislative leaders to seek a meeting, I ought to acknowledge that, to some extent, they have done so.
Have they extended an olive branch? No. The letter is far from that. It is as much an explanation for their lawsuoit as it is a request to work together. But perhaps there is some willingness to engage in discussions.
I can find no evidence that the Governor has directly responded.
Various Republican legislators have endorsed, or at least expressed openness to, some of the other plans that have been proposed. One such plan can be seen here. Another here. There are others.
For purposes of comparison, the Governor’s plan can be seen here, and the federal guidelines can be seen here.
I am not taking a position on which plan is better. They all lack specificity and have omissions. I seriously doubt that any of these plans could receive bipartisan support as written.
The best plan would be one that both parties and most people can support. Perhaps they could take elements from each of these plans and call it the Wisconsin Plan. Purists will not like it – it will in part be too restrictive and in part be insufficiently restrictive. Some will say that it not sufficiently science-based. Some will say that it does not open the economy quickly enough. It will be imperfect, but an imperfect plan is better than either no plan or a plan that half the state will ignore and ridicule. Wisconsin needs a plan that everyone can rally around. That is the best cure for both the virus and the economy. And we have to be concerned with both.
The sooner the Governor and legislative leadership meet, the sooner we will know if they can possibly work toward an agreement on a meaningful plan. Maybe that can only happen after the Wisconsin Supreme Court has weighed in. That would be disappointing.
To come to an agreement, both sides need to be willing to talk and negotiate in good faith, they need to want to reach an agreement, they have to care about mitigating the damage from the virus and the damage to our economy, and they need to be able to share credit. Can any of them do that?