Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) held a press conference this afternoon (11/17) to detail some ideas Assembly Republicans have for a state COVID-19 response bill after Gov. Evers released his legislative proposals earlier today.
From a school perspective, the WASB is pleased the Speaker mentioned limited liability protections from COVID-19 lawsuits for schools, businesses and other entities acting in good faith. The Speaker did not have bill language or details on these ideas but said he was open to negotiating with the governor and Senate to potentially come back in session to pass legislation in December.
The WASB has recommended to key legislative leaders that Wisconsin provide school districts and district employees with immunity from civil liability for COVID-19 related death, injury, or damages unless there is willful, wanton or reckless behavior on the part of a school district or school district employee. Schools that are exercising due care should not be subject to frivolous lawsuits or suits brought merely for their settlement value. Liability protections would serve as a deterrent to such “nuisance” suits.
Other ideas mention by Speaker Vos include beefing up contact tracing, more rapid testing, developing at-home testing and moving around state agency employees to temporarily assist in these areas. He also stressed his preference to use federal CARES Act dollars instead of state money to fund these efforts.