November 19, 2020Christina Brey

Governor Extends Mask Mandate, Introduces COVID Plan

Governor Tony Evers has extended the statewide mask mandate into 2021, and has introduced a $541 million COVID plan. In addition to a couple school-specific items, his plan streamlines the process for getting unemployment benefits, requires health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing, treatment, prescriptions and vaccines, and bans evictions and foreclosures through the end of 2021.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who hasn’t taken up the governor’s offer to negotiate a relief package, quickly held a press conference to say Republican leaders will be bringing forward their own plans, although he didn’t produce any new bills or plans during his media availability. Assembly Republicans have not met to deal with the pandemic for over 200 days.

All of this occurred as the state health department reported 7,090 new cases and 92 deaths, the most deaths so far on a single day.

Tell Do-Nothing Legislative Leaders to Do Their Job

Worth reading is this scathing Wisconsin State Journal editorial: Wisconsin is being swamped by the coronavirus pandemic. Republican leaders do nothing.

“After playing politics with the lives of Wisconsin citizens for months, it seemed on Tuesday that Republicans in the state Assembly were finally going to offer new ideas to fight an out-of-control pandemic — one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus in the nation.

“And then … they did nothing.”

School Provisions in Governor’s Plan

The education-related provisions in the governor’s plan introduced this week include:

  • Providing waivers for state assessments and report cards for the 2020-21 school year
    This would waive requirements for state assessments for this school year, along with school report cards required under state law. Federal assessment requirements still remain in effect for the 2020-21 school year, but this provision provides flexibility if those requirements are waived at the federal level.
  • Rehiring retired teachers and staff, reinstating their licensure through the end of 2021
    This would allow school districts to rehire retired annuitants and give the ability to reinstate licensure through the end of 2021. It would reduce the waiting period for a WRS participant who has applied to receive a retirement annuity must wait between terminating covered employment with a WRS employer and returning to WRS-covered employment from 75 days to 15 days. The reduced waiting persiod would apply to participants rehired into classifications deemed as important to the COVID-19 response efforts, as determined by hiring state agencies and local government public health officials.

Related Links:

Governor Evers’ Full Proposal

Summary of Governor’s Plan

WEAC COVID Update

 

Get to Know the JFC Co-Chairs

Senator Howard Marklein and Representative John Nygren have been named co-chairs of the powerful Legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee.

 

Budget Listening Sessions Announced

Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will hold a series of People’s Budget virtual listening sessions as the state begins the 2021-2023 state budget process. Mark your calendar for the session “Our Schools and Education” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, December 16. WEAC will provide the registration link as soon as it’s available.

Other upcoming sessions are:

Budget Listening Session on Environment, Infrastructure, and the Economy

Wednesday, December 2, at 6 p.m.

Registration will be live one week before the listening session date.

Budget Listening Session on Criminal Justice Reform
Tuesday, December 8, at 6 p.m.
Registration will be live one week before the listening session date.