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Two state lawmakers from NE Wisconsin ignore Gov. Ever’s order and place Christmas tree in Capitol building

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Two state lawmakers from Northeast Wisconsin say they are going to keep a 100-year-old Christmas tradition alive. Kris Schuller reports they have placed a Christmas tree inside the Capitol in Madison, even though the governor recently put the practice on hold.

On the ground floor of the state Capitol this week two Republican lawmakers put up a small artificial Christmas tree.

“It’s not harming anybody, it’s not a risk of spreading a disease,” said Rep. Shae Sortwell (R-Two Rivers).

Going against a decision by the governor to put this annual holiday tradition on hold, with the Capitol closed because of the pandemic.

“It’s over a 100-year tradition. Why in the world would we stop just because of COVID,” said Rep. Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc).

“When times are tough, it’s even more critical that we hold on to the traditions we can continue with,” said Sortwell.

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.”

“It is not a big thing and it doesn’t make any sense for them not to have that tree up there,” said Tittl.

These lawmakers say they will appeal and in the meantime, if they learn the trees have 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.”

“He closed the Capitol, he can open the Capitol, he can also let that tree just remain,” said Tittl.

The two plan to submit a response to Capitol Police on Monday.

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

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