Wisconsin Public Radio

Evers Signs Wisconsin COVID-19 Bill

Bipartisan bill responds to pandemic, addresses testing, unemployment claims, other issues.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Apr 15th, 2020 02:44 pm
Gov. Evers signing Assembly Bill 1038, now 2019 Wisconsin Act 185. Photo courtesy of the Governor's office.

Gov. Evers signing Assembly Bill 1038, now 2019 Wisconsin Act 185. Photo courtesy of the Governor’s office.

Wisconsin state senators voted 32-0 Wednesday for a bill to address the COVID-19 pandemic, sending the measure to Gov. Tony Evers’ desk despite objections from Evers and other Democrats that the measure left critical needs unmet.

Evers signed the bill Wednesday, which passed the Assembly on Tuesday on a 97-2 vote. It lifts a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance in Wisconsin. It would also require health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing and bars those insurers from discriminating against people who have or have had the virus.

“Even though the world may look different for the foreseeable future, this bill is bipartisan, it’s common sense,” said Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, during a virtual session of the Senate on Wednesday. “We need to do this today to get it to the governor’s desk.

Democrats supported the bill even though several of them said more needed to be done.

Shortly after the session ended, Evers called on lawmakers to send the bill to his desk immediately, but said he was unhappy with what it left out.

“My administration has been working to do as much as we can to respond to COVID-19 but we need to have the flexibility and resources to be able to provide necessary support for the people of our state,” Evers said in a statement. “It’s clear that more legislation will be needed to meaningfully address COVID-19 in Wisconsin and help workers, families, businesses, and farmers.”

Evers had previously called for legislation that would give his administration the ability to spend whatever is necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic. He also called on legislators to extend his emergency powers, which are scheduled to expire May 11.

Republicans rejected the governor’s plans but also backed away from their own proposal that would have given the Legislature’s budget committee unilateral control over spending cuts that will likely be necessary because of a downturn in the state’s economy.

Evers Signs Wisconsin COVID-19 Bill was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

Related Legislation: Wisconsin Act 185

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