Legislature bottles up vaccine changes; Senate passes bills to protect fossil fuels

By: - June 8, 2023 5:10 am
Double masked teen getting vaccine

CDC photo

Republican lawmakers blocked the state health department from updating childhood vaccination rules Wednesday, using procedural maneuvers that did not require a vote in either the Senate or the Assembly.

Both bodies referred to their health committees bills that would prevent the Department of Health Services (DHS) from implementing the rules that it proposed earlier this year. The rules were suspended in the Legislature’s Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules. 

By referring legislation blocking the rules to committee, the Republican lawmakers will keep DHS from trying to revive them without having to actually pass the legislation — which would give Gov. Tony Evers a chance to veto it.

The maneuver prevents DHS from requiring the meningitis vaccine for students, demanding medical evidence of a child’s past history of chicken pox in order to waive the vaccine for that illness, and declaring a “substantial outbreak” for either of the viruses.

electric lawn mowers
Electric lawn mowers at a Madison hardware store. (Wisconsin Examiner photo)

Also Wednesday, the Senate voted on party lines to pass two measures that block state or local governments from banning products based on how they’re powered. AB-141 applies to tools or appliances, and AB-142 applies to motor vehicles. 

Evers hasn’t stated outright that he’d veto the bills, but has said he thought they were unnecessary. Evers has historically vetoed bills that did not win support from Democrats.

Earlier the Senate passed SB-49, which similarly would prevent local governments from blocking utility services based on the source of the energy that they provide. The bill also bars municipalities from “discriminating against” utilities or gasoline retailers.

That legislation must go through the Assembly before going to Evers’ desk.


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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary.