January 15, 2021

Senate and the Governor reach a relief deal, but the Assembly waits

Senate and the Governor reach a relief deal, but the Assembly waits Featured Image
Wisconsin State Capitol Building in Madison, Wisconsin

This week, the Governor and State Senate have agreed upon another COVID-19 Relief Package, but the Assembly has yet to vote on the Senate version of the Relief Package. Wisconsin families continue to struggle with the wide-ranging effects of COVID-19 on public health and the economy, but these two sides are working to come together to take the next step in recovery.

The Republican Controlled Legislature has failed to meet for months and this bill is coming just before many of the major provisions in the April relief bill are set to expire. The legislature’s gross negligence has placed the Governor in a situation where something must get passed immediately to protect Wisconsin citizens that are in the direst situation.

This relief bill is by no means perfect, but it does address and extend several key recovery provisions.

  • The bill grants the state the power to extend Limited Term Employee assignments and will allow state employees in DHS to be transferred as needed.
  • Also, this bill shifts money from Pandemic Fund to specific programs such as childcare, to help with readiness.
  • At present, this bill also creates a liability shield for Wisconsin businesses for lawsuits related to COVID-19.
  • The bill also enhances payments to Nursing Homes and medical facilities during the crisis, while expanding health insurance coverage to prevent companies from gouging those being treated for COVID-19.
  • Lastly, the bill extends the unemployment insurance provisions from the prior relief bill. Eliminating the waiting period and creating a plan to address the backlog.

As stated by the Governor, this bill is a good start. However, this bill is unlikely to be the last relief our state will require and it is clear that more will need to be done to protect our students and educators. Now is the time for our elected leaders to put partisanship aside and pass the type of relief needed to stimulate our economy and protect our vulnerable populations.