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Wisconsin Assembly overwhelmingly approves COVID-19 relief bill in state’s first virtual session

The Wisconsin Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to help the state’s government, industries and health care workers better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sweeping 97-2 bipartisan vote follows weeks of negotiations between the Republican-led Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ office and was conducted in a historic virtual session via Skype. Representatives were allowed to attend in person or virtually.

Forty-two lawmakers, mostly Republicans, were present in the Capitol, seated at a distance from one another, while 57 others participated from their homes — in kitchens, offices and bedrooms — voting and addressing the body on TV monitors displayed at the front of the Assembly chamber.

The bill includes 55 separate measures, allowing Wisconsin to capture millions in federal dollars to buoy its welfare program. It also eliminates the state’s one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. Demand for both has skyrocketed over the last several weeks as the pandemic has kept people at home and shuttered businesses.
Article appears online on 4/14 on the Cap Times. Read the entire article here.
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