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Republicans to attempt veto overrides on COVID-19 bills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans who control the Wisconsin Assembly scheduled votes Tuesday to override vetoes by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers of bills that would prevent health officials from mandating people receive the COVID-19 vaccine and prohibit the closing of churches during the pandemic.

Evers vetoed both bills last month, saying they would restrict his ability to respond to the pandemic. There are no statewide vaccination mandates in place, or statewide orders limiting capacity in churches or requiring them to be closed.

Republicans haven’t got the votes to override the bills, but scheduling the measures gives lawmakers another chance to criticize Evers’ response to the pandemic.

Overriding the vetoes would take 66 votes in the Assembly. Republicans have a 60-38 majority, meaning six Democrats who voted against passing the bills would have to flip and support the override. The Senate would also have to vote to override the vetoes for the bills to be enacted.

By Monday, more than 37% of all Wisconsin residents were fully vaccinated and more than 44% had received at least one shot. The number of people getting vaccinated has slowed over the past month, as those who most wanted the vaccine have gotten it and now harder-to-reach populations and those who are hesitant to be inoculated are next in line.

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