Assembly Republicans announced a package of initiatives to help the state address the public health crisis. The legislation gives the state more tools to fight the spread of the coronavirus and helps struggling families across Wisconsin. The legislative package builds off of Governor Evers’ most recent proposals, provides emergency funding and creates a road map for the state to move through the pandemic.
The Assembly Republican GOP package includes the following:
- Create a $100 million fund to respond to the public health emergency
- Double the number of local public health staff working on the COVID-19 response
- Offer weekly rapid antigen tests for home use
- Continue the prohibition of co-payments for any COVID-19 tests
- Establish legislative oversight of vaccine distribution plan
- Provide guidelines for state employees to return to work
- Reauthorize state employee transfers
- Establish limited liability for schools, businesses and local governments
- Allow for an essential family member/caregiver to visit a loved one in nursing homes in specific circumstances
- Re-establish personal electronic computing device grants for schools ($9 million)
- Require teacher instruction from school buildings by end of January, providing exceptions
- Require school board approval of virtual instruction by two-thirds vote of the board
- Provide payments to parents of $371 for students who have had at least 50% virtual instruction since September
- Allow health service providers from other states to practice in Wisconsin
- Require UW System to provide credit to students who assist in the COVID-19 response
- Create business grants for the hospitality industry
- Require the Department of Workforce Development to eliminate the backlog of unemployment insurance claims
While this legislation would set aside dollars for the administration to request from the Joint Committee on Finance, it's preferred to have federal funding pay for these initiatives before tapping into state funds.
Wisconsin needs a comprehensive response and Assembly Republicans are ready to act before the end of the year. We look forward to working with our legislative colleagues and the Governor on bipartisan solutions that the state deserves in this crisis.
Here's a link to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo on the legislation.