Associated Press

Michelle Maternowski

Wisconsin’s cities and counties are struggling with whether and how to enact local mask mandates in the absence of a statewide order, members of the state’s business community were told Wednesday.

Without a uniform mask law, Wisconsin cities and counties are left to decide on their own what to do. That has caused them many problems, leaders of groups representing cities, villages and counties told members of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce on a telephone meeting Wednesday.

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People traveling from Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska and North Dakota to Chicago will have to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival or face possible fines starting Friday.

Chicago officials issued the quarantine order in early July. Initially, it applied to travelers from 15 states but has been updated weekly based on increasing numbers of confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

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Wisconsin residents who receive disability benefits and who had been denied additional unemployment benefits made available due to the coronavirus pandemic can now receive those payments.

The U.S. Department of Labor told the state Department of Workforce Development in a letter Monday that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was available to people with disabilities who receive payments through Social Security Disability. That’s a reversal from the federal government’s initial interpretation of state law.

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Everyone attending the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next month will have to wear a face mask, consent to daily testing for COVID-19, fill out questionnaires and maintain a physical distance from others.

Organizers of the convention released details of the coronavirus safety plan Monday, three weeks before the Aug. 17 start of the four-day event. The convention has been scaled down from original plans and now will be mostly online with only a few hundred people gathered at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee.

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The U.S. attorney for Milwaukee sought to alleviate concerns Friday about federal agents being sent to the city by President Donald Trump, saying they will assist local and state law enforcement in combating violent crime and would not be breaking up protests.

Lauren Sigfusson

Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday he was still considering a statewide mask mandate as the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 1,000 for the second time in three days.

But Evers emphasized that he believes his powers to mandate the wearing of face coverings are limited due to a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in May that struck down his safer-at-home order. Several cities across the state, including four on Tuesday alone, have issued their own mask mandates in the absence of a state order.

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Updated at 2:06 p.m. CT

Racine and Green Bay joined Madison and Milwaukee as Wisconsin cities that passed mandates requiring people to wear masks in certain public settings, though Gov. Tony Evers has resisted issuing a statewide order like those in place in many nearby states.

More than half of states have statewide mask mandates, including Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota, which announced its on Wednesday.

Maayan Silver

A citizen oversight commission has given Milwaukee's police chief a long list of directives as it works to revise the police department procedures. Failing to comply with those directives could lead to discipline against Chief Alfonso Morales, even his termination.

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Vice President Mike Pence stepped up attacks on Joe Biden with an aggressive speech Friday in the birthplace of the Republican Party, casting the election in under four months as a choice “between freedom and opportunity and socialism and decline.”

Pence, drawing sharp contrasts between President Donald Trump’s vision for the country and that of Biden and other Democrats, said the election will determine “whether America remains America. ... or whether we leave for our children and grandchildren a country that’s fundamentally transformed into something else.”

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated on Friday at 11:32 a.m. CT

Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped to 8.5% in June — a bit of good news that came Thursday as Democratic lawmakers released proposals to remove obstacles and broaden access to unemployment benefits.

The jobless numbers also came as Gov. Tony Evers' administration temporarily reassigned 100 state workers to help address a backlog in claims.

Screenshot / YouTube / Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin broke a record for confirmed new COVID-19 cases Tuesday for the fourth time in six days, as Gov. Tony Evers and state health leaders implored people to wear masks and take other steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The state Department of Health Services reported 964 new cases Tuesday, breaking a previous high of 926 cases on Saturday. Deaths increased by six to 826 on Tuesday. Of everyone tested, 6.5% were positive, continuing a generally upward trend in recent weeks.

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Updated Tuesday at 1:29 p.m. CT

The Milwaukee Common Council voted unanimously Monday to institute a citywide mandatory mask requirement.

Under the ordinance, anybody age 3 and older would have to wear a face-covering in buildings open to the public, as well as any outdoor public space when it’s not possible to stay 6 feet away from people who aren’t in the same household. There are exceptions for medical conditions or religious reasons.

The Milwaukee Health Department, not the police, would be in charge of enforcing the ordinance.

Maayan Silver

Updated at 10:57 a.m. CT

The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday overturned three of four partial budget vetoes issued by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, bucking decades of court precedent that upheld the governor’s broad veto powers.

However, the justices also upheld one of Evers’ vetoes as well as two made by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2017. The court declined to hear a separate challenge to those vetoes, saying the 2019 lawsuit that came after Walker left office was filed too late.

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Updated at 3:14 p.m. CT

Face masks will be mandatory inside all University of Wisconsin campus buildings statewide under a policy adopted unanimously Thursday by the Board of Regents after interim President Tommy Thompson said there was no way to open safely amid the coronavirus pandemic without the mandate.

Maayan Silver / WUWM

Updated at 3:53 p.m. CT

The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Republican-authored lame-duck laws that stripped power from the incoming Democratic attorney general just before he took office in 2019.

The justices rejected arguments that the laws were unconstitutional, handing another win to Republicans who have scored multiple high-profile victories before the court in recent years.

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