‘Isn’t that something’: Wisconsin governor responds to lawmakers who ignored his order, put Christmas tree in Capitol building

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MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Gov. Tony Evers called out lawmakers for putting up a Christmas tree in the Capitol building in spite of COVID-19 protocols.

“They go 230 days without doing any work, legislatively, which I think is their job. And then spending a short period of time putting up a tree in the Rotunda. In a building that no one is in, or very few people are in,” says Evers.

According to Evers, the reason no tree was put up was due to the Capitol building being closed due to COVID-19.

“Can’t come to work to pass any bills around COVID-19, but by golly we will put a tree up when no one is looking,” Evers continued.

Late last week, WFRV Local 5 reported on two Northeast Wisconsin lawmakers – Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) and Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers) – who placed the tree.

On the day Tittl and Sortwell placed the tree, they submitted a permit to Capitol Police. One day later it was denied. In an email, the Department of Administration said “Since the Capitol building has been closed to the public, Capitol Police has denied all display permit applications.”

These lawmakers say they will appeal and in the meantime, if they learn the tree has been taken down, they plan to put another one up.

“And if that one gets taken down, I’ll find another tree and we’ll put up another tree, because this shouldn’t be that big of a deal,” Sortwell said. “The only thing we’re asking for from the governor is to leave it alone, that’s it.”

The DOA says based on the statutes, the governor can’t override the decision.

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