Wisconsin’s New Meningitis, Chickenpox Vaccine Rules in Legislative Crosshairs

by Benjamin Yount


Wisconsin lawmakers are looking to block the state’s new meningitis and chickenpox vaccine rules.

The legislature’s rules committee, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules, on Tuesday took the first step toward overturning the new rules, established earlier this year by the state’s Department of Health Services.

DHS wants to add a meningitis vaccine requirement for 7th graders, and change the rules for chickenpox shots.

Heather Allen with the group Wisconsin United for Freedom is one of the dozen or so people, mainly moms, who asked lawmakers not to allow DHS to create a new vaccine mandate without any input from lawmakers or the public.

“Wisconsin is not in a state of emergency for meningitis or chickenpox, and DHS knows that,” Allen told the committee. “These rules were set in motion via a back-alley deal to usurp your role as legislators. Our founding fathers created three branches of government to work in conjunction with one another, for the betterment of the people. Going forward we hope DHS remembers this and includes legislators in decisions that impact thousands of children statewide.”

Wisconsin United for Freedom is very worried that DHS will order away vaccine exemptions for parents and kids.

The JCRAR blocked an identical vaccine mandate from DHS last year as well.

Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said lawmakers are moving to cancel DHS’s vaccine rules this time around as a check against their “arbitrary and capricious” new rules.

“When our last action died, when we were out of session, we attempted to work with DHS. To try and come to some agreement on the concerns we had, and we failed,” Nass explained.

Democratic Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said lawmakers are here again because of pure politics.

“The reason why we are here is because a little over four years ago, once Gov. Evers won the election, he was of a different party. And the Republican legislature rushed in to pull powers away from the executive branch,” Larson said.

Nass says he will, at a minimum, push for a suspension of DHS’ meningitis and chickenpox vaccine rules. He expects JCRAR to act in the next couple of days.

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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Child at Doctor Office” by Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office. CC BY 2.0.





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