April 14, 2020

KnodlBanner2018.jpg

COVID-19 Legislation Passes 97-2

COVID-19 Relief Bill.jpg

Assembly Bill 1038 was approved by the full Assembly earlier today on a 97-2 vote. I am glad we could come together in a bipartisan fashion to support this much needed relief package. Our state will now be better positioned to respond to this pandemic. 

The one week waiting period for unemployment insurance will be eliminated for everyone during these tough times. This elimination will be retroactively applied to any claims made after March 12th and will run through February 7, 2021. 

We will also be able to capture more Medicaid funding from the federal government. It is estimated that we will realize $150 million per calendar quarter with this change. This is vital as more individuals will likely be utilizing the program.  

The legislation also provides for the following: 

  • Requires the WI Economic Development Corporation to develop a plan to assist the state's main industries 
    • Tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, construction & retail
  • Provides the needed flexibilities to school districts to complete the school year online
  • Prohibits health insurance coverage discrimination based on COVID-19
  • Expands SeniorCare to include coverage of vaccinations 
  • Sets aside $75 million to address potential future needs where funding from the federal government may fall short
  • Ensures no co-pays for COVID-19 testing
  • Allows pharmacists to extend prescriptions
  • Eases licensing requirements for health care professionals and emergency medical responders 

With passage of this bill, we are ensuring that Wisconsin will receive the entire $2 billion available in federal assistance. Governor Evers has sole discretion over spending this aid. Assembly Republicans have already sent a letter to Governor Evers asking him to prioritize the needs of the health care industry, workers, small businesses and local governments when choosing where to spend the money. 

If you are interested in reading more details about the bill, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau provided a nice summary and that can be found here