State leaders discuss potential legislation to address COVID-19 crisis

NOW: State leaders discuss potential legislation to address COVID-19 crisis

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Governor Evers and Republican leadership who control the Legislature are in discussions over how to address potential needs from various sectors of the state amid the worsening COVID-19 crisis.

A spokeswoman for Governor Evers’ office and the Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald say both sides are examining what needs there may be for the state’s health industry, K-12 education, small businesses and other areas.

“The one thing that we’ve been considering and talking to the administration about is what are the different agencies going to need, is there some specifics that they’ll be asking for?” Fitzgerald told CBS 58. “So we’ll weigh those. The other thing we have to consider is what’s going on in Congress right now, what’s going on at the federal level.”

During a briefing updating the public on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Evers called on the Legislature to repeal the state’s one-week waiting period for unemployment compensation insurance as well as take up a broader package of legislation.

Along with that, Fitzgerald told CBS 58 that there may be a need to address K-12 education, with the Governor extending the suspension of classes statewide indefinitely.

“We’re waiting to see if there’ll be an announcement like we’ve seen in some other states, where the kids would simply stay home for the balance of the school year,” Fitzgerald said. “If that happens, again another important area that I think the legislature and the governor could address and possibly come up with some relief there. [I] don’t know exactly what form that would take, but it’s another issue that is very much on our minds right now.”

The timeline of when the Legislature would take up such a package is unclear. Fitzgerald announced Tuesday that the Senate is postponing its March floor session date, originally set for the last week of the month.

Now, it’s likely the Senate and Assembly will call an Extraordinary Session in order to reconvene and take up any legislation tied to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fitzgerald did not say when that would happen because measures to combat the virus may still be in place for months.

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