UW system COVID policies: Republican says don't sue

Sen. Steve Nass

A second Republican legislator says he doesn’t support suing the University of Wisconsin System over its COVID-19 protocols.

Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), co-chair of the Legislature’s rules committee, has threatened to sue system officials if they don’t submit their COVID-19 plans to the committee for approval by Thursday, Sept. 2. System President Tommy Thompson has refused to capitulate, saying the system has the right to manage itself.

Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying he won’t support a legal challenge. He says tying the system’s hands isn’t in the best interests of local communities or businesses. He's the first Republican senator to state a position on legal action.

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Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) tweeted on Monday that a lawsuit would only add more confusion during an already stressful time.

Thompson has called for UW campuses to hold at least 75% of their classes in-person this fall. The schools have implemented a range of protocols over the last few weeks designed to meet that goal, including mask and testing mandates. The system hasn't imposed any vaccination requirements, however.

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