GOP lawmakers advance bill barring schools from excluding students based on vaccine status
Republican lawmakers are advancing legislation that could set up legal battles for school districts in their enforcement of longstanding vaccine requirements for Wisconsin school children, including immunizations against polio, Hepatitis B, measles and other diseases.
The bill does not repeal provisions in state law that require children enrolling in school to first get vaccinations against diseases like Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Whooping Cough, Chicken Pox, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Hepatitis B and Pneumococcal diseases, or obtain a waiver on the basis of religious beliefs or personal convictions. But the bill, if enacted, would create a separate provision in state law that bans district officials from denying admission or participation to classes and school activities on the basis of vaccine status.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Evers said the governor would veto the legislation but it's likely the legislation would become law under a Republican governor. Evers is up for re-election this year. A spokesman for the former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is currently the only prominent Republican in the governor's race, said Kleefisch "is opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates" when asked if Kleefisch would sign the bill into law.
Billionaire GOP benefactor Liz Uihlein spends $220K on Rebecca Kleefisch in governor's race
As Delafield's Kevin Nicholson gears up a run for governor, a billionaire GOP benefactor who is the wife of one of Nicholson's top supporters is also spending money to send former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch to the state Capitol's east wing. Liz Uihlein, co-founder of the Pleasant Prairie-based shipping supply giant Uline, donated $200,000 in October to a Republican super PAC working to elect Kleefisch, according to campaign fundraising reports filed Monday. The donation to Freedom Wisconsin PAC came after Uihlein donated $20,000 to Kleefisch's campaign in September — the maximum individual contribution allowed under state law.
In 2018, the Uihleins spent $10.7 million in support of Nicholson during the GOP primary in the 2018 U.S. Senate race challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Nicholson was defeated in the primary by the then-state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Brookfield. Now, Nicholson in the coming days will announce his decision to enter the Republican primary to challenge Democratic incumbent Evers.
Liz Uihlein was an outspoken critic of Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order in 2020 and urged her employees that year to sign a petition to recall the governor. Kleefisch framed her September campaign announcement around criticism of COVID-19 restrictions.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A bill that could make it tougher for schools to enforce vaccine laws