The Wisconsin state Senate, on a 31-to-0 vote Wednesday, passed a COVID-19 bill approved Tuesday by the Assembly.
Governor Tony Evers also signed the bill Wednesday.
“This bill isn’t perfect, and it might be first bill of a number that we are going to have to pass in the legislature,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).
The Wisconsin State Senate passed COVID-19 legislation today that allows Wisconsin to benefit from new federal funds. We put this bill together as a reaction to the legislation recently passed by Congress. pic.twitter.com/KQy6P2dxsX
— Scott Fitzgerald (@SenFitzgerald) April 15, 2020
Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), asked Republicans to take the prospect of further action seriously.
“I implore this body, I implore this legislature, to know that we need to come back. That there are going to be things and issues that we need to continue to address.”
We can’t afford to wait another month for action as the number of confirmed cases and fatalities rise higher and higher. We need bold, decisive, forward-looking action now to protect public health and prevent further economic turmoil. #WIPolitics #COVID19
— Jennifer Shilling (@SenShilling) April 15, 2020
The measure new goes to Governor Tony Evers, who will need to sign it before Friday, so the state can access $2 billion in federal assistance.
Evers signed the bill but said it “falls short of what is needed to address the magnitude and gravity of what our state is facing, but I am not willing to delay our state’s response to this crisis.”
This bill is finally a step in the right direction, but there is much more work to be done.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) April 15, 2020
The legislation has more than 50 individual provisions, including eliminating the one week waiting period to collect unemployment benefits, prohibiting co-pays for COVID-19 testing, and relaxing some regulations on health care workers.
The Senate session on Wednesday was done with Shilling and Senate President Roger Roth in a Capitol conference room. Members participated remotely from their homes or Senate offices.