Gov. Tony Evers released a $541 million relief plan Tuesday to provide Wisconsin residents aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Republicans are not in agreement with the bill.
Tuesday, top Republicans in the state Legislature said they are not on the same page but have not drafted their own bill to counter Evers’ proposal, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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Evers officially announced the relief package today after Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, called a conference about new COVID-19 legislative initiatives Tuesday afternoon.
Evers wants to continue to waive the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits and prohibit any evictions and foreclosures, according to the press conference.
At the press conference today, Evers said Wisconsin’s death total yesterday was 92 people. According to metrics conducted by state health officials, Evers said Wisconsin could see upwards of 5,000 deaths before the end of the year.
“This isn’t something happening someplace else to someone else,” Evers said. “They’re our friends, our neighbors and our loved ones who are getting sick.”
Vos told reporters at the news conference Tuesday he wants to work on a bill with Evers to double the number of contact tracers in the state and expand rapid testing, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The bill would also give lawsuit protections for businesses.
Incoming Senate President Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he did not believe there was a reason to pass legislation and he did not see anything to be “excited about” in Evers’ proposed package.
Kapenga said he didn’t support the decision to increase contact tracing and certain parts of Evers’ bill — including banning evictions and foreclosures — according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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The bill would also suspend school report cards and standardized testing for the current school year and give health care workers the ability to claim compensation if they were to get COVID-19 from their jobs, according to The Cap Times.
Insurance companies would also be required to cover testing and treatment as well as the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine through the end of 2021.
As new cases continue to rise in Wisconsin, the passage of the package would be the first action taken by the legislature since April.