Gov. Evers holds first-ever virtual State of the State address

NOW: Gov. Evers holds first-ever virtual State of the State address

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Governor Evers gave the first-ever virtual State of the State address in the history of Wisconsin Tuesday night, Jan. 12.

We're in the middle of a pandemic and the windows of the state Capitol building are boarded up for security.

The state of Wisconsin has been better. Evers says the state will have to take on challenges together.

Republican lawmakers watched Gov. Tony Evers give the State of the State on a monitor from the Assembly chamber. He started by addressing the 5,000 Wisconsinites who have died from COVID-19.

"They were moms and dads, brothers and sisters, friends and coworkers, and they are loved and missed by many," he said.

Gov. Evers and the Wisconsin Senate just agreed on a COVID-19 relief package, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he won't cave like he thinks the Senate did. 

"The idea that we allow unelected bureaucrats to shut down businesses and shut down houses of worship with no limits whatsoever, no restrictions on making elected officials have to engage in the process, that's a big problem for us," Vos said.

Evers said COVID-19 dramatically shifted his plans for state investment this year.

He pointed to a $2 billion response that helped support 53,000 small businesses -- 15,000 farms.

Evers was also happy with the largest general school aid investment in a decade, but noted the state fell short of its pre-year goals.

"We know we have a long way to go to get our economy back on track, and unfortunately, many of the challenges of 2020 will no doubt carry into this new year."

Evers listed broadband internet and improving the unemployment system as priorities for 2021.

He also blamed lawmakers for challenging his COVID responses in court.

Vos shot back, blaming Evers for unemployment and the state's vaccination rate.

"We see states all across the country that are lightyears ahead of where we are today. And today, the big debate in the Evers administration is are we going to vaccinate prisoners before we vaccinate senior citizens."

Gov. Evers did not address Capitol security.

Vos says they did hold a briefing and there are currently no credible threats.

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