• Assembly Bill 1038  

COVID-19 Response Bill  

Today the Wisconsin State Assembly met in extraordinary session to take up Assembly Bill 1038, known as the COVID-19 Response Bill. The bill was drafted with bipartisan input and gives Governor Evers the flexibility necessary to combat the impact this disease is having on our state and healthcare system. The bill also allows the state to receive millions more in federal dollars.

If signed into law the legislation will eliminate the one week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits and the change would apply retroactively to claims made after March 12th and continue for those made until February 7th, 2021.

The bill will speed up bringing more health care workers into service, protect Good Samaritan businesses manufacturing PPE and vital equipment, and help you get medicine you need more quickly from pharmacists. The bill also includes provisions to ease licensing requirements for health care professionals and emergency medical responders, allows pharmacists to extend prescriptions, expands SeniorCare to include vaccination coverage and ensures no co-pays for COVID-19 testing while prohibiting health insurance discrimination. The bill also provides schools additional flexibility so they can complete the school year online, and sets aside $75 million to address future, unexpected needs that federal dollars may not cover, and lastly, it requires the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to develop an assistance plan for the state’s main industries (tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, construction and retail.

These are challenging times for our citizens and our state and I am proud to have taken up this bipartisan measure to help Wisconsinites navigate the difficult situations that have arisen because of this virus.

The Assembly met virtually for the first time in state history. Myself and other legislators who voted in the Capitol observed social distancing guidelines. The bill passed 97-2 and I am grateful that both sides were able to come together to get help to all of Wisconsin. The legislation now moves on to the Senate, which will take it up on Wednesday.