In the middle of this pandemic, state legislators have proposed Assembly Bill 1, which would limit long-standing statutes giving health departments authority to issue orders to help prevent COVID from spreading.

We need health experts, not politicians, making decisions on disease prevention measures. The bill would prevent health departments from closing facilities as needed and prohibit vaccine requirements, among other ill-advised measures.

This is no time to restrict health departments in the middle of a pandemic in which more than 5,000 Wisconsinites have already died due to COVID.

Wisconsin statute 252.03 was approved with overwhelming bi-partisan support and has functioned for over four decades. It should not be revised during this terrible pandemic. The majority of citizens, like me, support the authority of local health departments to issue orders to protect the health of citizens, as evidenced in a Green Bay referendum in the November election.

Instead of Assembly Bill 1, a bill should be introduced to protect health staff who have been under undue threat, causing a number of them to resign. Thirty-five other states have established penalties for harassing and interfering with the work of local health staff. Wisconsin should do likewise.

MARIETTE NOWAK

East Troy

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