Assembly Approves COVID-19 Response Package

The State Assembly convened today to approve the COVID-19 Response Bill to help the state address the many challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

For the first time in state history, members had the opportunity to convene both in the Assembly Chambers and virtually.  Those of us that participated in-person made many adjustments to our normal operations, including a modified seating chart that allowed us all to maintain a social distance of six feet or more from one another.  I am grateful to our Legislative Technology Services Bureau who have worked tirelessly the past week to find a way for our members to participate virtually.

The legislation approved provides for the following:

  • Ensures the state will maximize the federal dollars we receive from the CARES Act to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Eliminates the one-week waiting period for individuals to receive unemployment benefits (applies to claims made after 3/12/20 and through 2/7/21)
  • Eases licensing requirements for health care professionals and emergency medical responders
  • Allows pharmacists to extend refills on certain prescriptions
  • Eliminates co-pays for COVID-19 testing
  • Prohibits health insurance coverage discrimination based on COVID-19
  • Provides flexibility to school districts completing the academic year virtually
  • Requires the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to develop a plan to assist key industries that have been effected by COVID-19, including tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and retail

Through the federal CARES Act, Wisconsin will receive $2.2 billion in federal assistance to respond to COVID-19.  Gov. Evers will have sole discretion over how the dollars are spent.  We have asked the governor to prioritize the needs of our hospitals and healthcare facilities, business owners, workers and local governments.

I am proud of the bipartisan discussions that went into drafting this legislation.

The bill will be considered in the Senate tomorrow.


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My office will be limited in what we are able to communicate to you in my e-updates between now and the fall election.  Under Wisconsin’s campaign laws, all legislative offices that are up for re-election are prohibited from sending mass communications from the office after April 15 of that year.  However, this rule will be exempted during the public health emergency for communications relating to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  I will only be able to address matters relating to COVID-19 in my e-updates between now and the fall election.

As always my staff and I will still be responsive to any and all concerns related to state government.  If you have questions, concerns or issues that require attention from my office, we are ready and willing to continue assisting you.  I look forward to your continued communication with my office.

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