Wisconsin Legislature releases coronavirus response bill

MADISON — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Monday released its coronavirus response bill, a proposal the Legislature plans to vote on starting Tuesday in first-of-its-kind virtual sessions where most lawmakers will be dialed in remotely.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who had objected to an earlier version, had no immediate comment on the latest 87-page proposal. Evers said on Friday he was hopeful that a bipartisan deal could be reached. Leaders of minority Democrats in the Legislature also did not immediately return messages Monday.

The key provision that Evers objected to in the earlier version, which would have given the Legislature's GOP-controlled budget committee the power to make any cuts in spending it wanted, was removed from the latest plan.

Much of what the Legislature intends to do is clear the path for spending of money coming the state as part of the federal stimulus bill, which was sending more than $2 billion to Wisconsin. Key provisions would clear the way for Wisconsin to receive more money for Medicaid, unemployment benefits and a host of other

The bill would suspend the current one-week waiting period for people to receive unemployment benefits. It would be waived for anyone who applied between March 12 and Feb. 7.