Gov. Evers rolls out coronavirus legislation, Assembly GOP presents ideas, openness to negotiation

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – Governor Tony Evers rolled out a new package of proposals aimed at addressing various aspects of the ongoing and worsening COVID-19 pandemic in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, while Assembly Republicans shared ideas and a warning that any legislation will need GOP approval.

The governor’s office released a draft bill that includes a series of proposals. Among them a prohibition of evictions and foreclosures through 2021, efforts to bolster health care through telehealth and insurance coverage, a proposal to allow front-line workers – including health care workers – to get worker’s compensation related to COVID-19 and an extension of the suspension of the one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance.

The release of the proposals came after Assembly Republicans announced a news conference on Tuesday. The governor’s office said it had shared with the Legislature the governor’s proposals on Monday evening and had not heard back from GOP leadership.

Assembly Republicans did not roll out legislation of their own during their news conference but did instead share ideas, signaling that some of the governor’s proposals won’t become reality. But leadership did express an openness to a collaborative effort.

“We want to find ways to work with Governor Evers,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told reporters. “We think some of [Governor Evers’] ideas are certainly workable, some are not. But that’s the point of negotiation. We put out our best ideas, he puts out things he supports and we see where common ground can be found.”

The Legislature, controlled by Republicans, has not passed a bill in more than 200 days. Vos said Tuesday that with the election season behind, the Legislature is in a better position to work to pass a bill concerning coronavirus.

Vos shared some GOP ideas Tuesday including efforts in increase community, rapid and at-home testing; boosting the number of contact tracers, increase licensing flexibility for health care workers to address ongoing shortages and offer liability protections for businesses during the pandemic.

Vos said he hoped to have a COVID-19 bill passed sometime in December.

However, both he and Gov. Evers would need the support of Senate Republicans, which potentially may be a high hurdle to overcome as some of the governor’s staunchest detractors hold seats there.

In a video conference with other Midwestern governors, Evers discussed moving forward with his efforts to address the pandemic, despite pushback from conservatives.

“If there are road blocks in front of us because of organizations or the opposition parties, that’s just the way it goes,” Evers said. “You’ve got to keep on keeping on.”

You can read more of the governor’s proposals here:

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