Calls increase for Evers to sign coronavirus protection law for Wisconsin businesses


The pressure is growing for Gov. Tony Evers to quickly sign new coronavirus liability protections for businesses, schools, and non-profits in Wisconsin.

The State Assembly unanimously approved a package on Tuesday that both fast tracks the plan to update the Department of Workforce Development, and protects businesses and others from coronavirus related lawsuits.

The governor has said he will sign the unemployment update proposal. He’s not publicly committed to signing the coronavirus protections.

Eric Bott, state director for Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin, on Wednesday said the governor needs to put pen to paper quickly.

“By ensuring businesses, nonprofits, schools and universities, and other entities have the certainty they need to innovate and remain open safely — without fear of frivolous lawsuits — we can help Wisconsin get back on track and recover stronger,” Bott said. “Now’s time for Governor Evers to follow the Legislature’s leadership and sign this pivotal reform into law.”

Bott is not alone.

Bill G. Smith is with both Wisconsin’s National Federation of International Business chapter and the Wisconsin Civil Justice Council. Smith said the governor needs to give businesses in the state not just legal protections, but peace of mind.

“[The legislation] would give Wisconsin’s small businesses a needed level of certainty that they will be protected from such liability, and would help ensure they are comfortable reopening and staying open.” Smith said in a statement.

The state’s largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce, has supported coronavirus liability protections for months. The group is, perhaps, the biggest supporter of this plan.

“Wisconsin employers have taken countless steps and invested unknown sums of money to keep their workers, customers and the public safe,” WMC’s Cory Fish said Tuesday. “Without this legislation, employers and other organizations could face potentially bankruptcy-causing lawsuits even though they did everything right to protect their people.”

The proposal has overwhelming, bipartisan support. The Senate passed the bill last week 27-3, and the Assembly approved it on Tuesday 89-0.

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