Legislature set for Extraordinary Session on COVID-19 relief bill
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Wisconsin lawmakers are set to gather virtually to take up legislation to help the state’s residents and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald released a joint statement Friday saying both chambers are planning on holding an Extraordinary Session beginning Tuesday, April 14.
“During these uncertain times, we are steadfast in our resolve to address the needs of the state,” the statement read. “This legislation will allow Wisconsin to capture millions of federal dollars in addition to the $2 billion in coronavirus funding that will aid Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.”
What exactly will be in that legislation is still unknown as of Friday. Vos and Fitzgerald said negotiations are still ongoing.
“We continue to work with members of the minority party on the legislation,” the GOP leaders said in their statement. “We’re confident that this plan will make the necessary legislative changes to help Wisconsin deal with the extensive challenges from this public health crisis, while also protecting the integrity of our state budget.”
Both Governor Evers and the GOP leadership had put forward their own proposals, with each side criticizing the others’ ideas. Republicans believed the governor’s proposals were too expensive and would ultimately hurt the state’s economy in the long run. Evers said he would veto a draft proposal that would have given power to the Republican-controlled Joint Committee on Finance to make budgetary cuts without the governor’s input.
Ultimately, the two sides will have to make concessions for the bill to become law.
In a media briefing Friday, Governor Evers expressed optimism that a bill would reach his desk that all sides could agree on.
“We’re hopeful we’ll see a bipartisan solution that helps us bridge the gaps that are existing in the federal legislation,” Evers said. “I’m hopeful and hopefully we will reach a good conclusion.”