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Lawmakers meet Tuesday to define next step in state's COVID-19 response

The Brillion News

MADISON - Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, said the Assembly will meet in an extraordinary session on Tuesday to vote on a coronavirus response bill.

Assembly leaders said they have worked with the minority Democrats and the governor’s office on legislation that will give the Evers administration the needed flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"The bill will allow our state to capture millions in federal dollars on top of the $2 billion in coronavirus funding from the federal CARES Act," the statement by Vos and Steineke said. "The legislation also eliminates the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. We applaud the bipartisan work that went into the creation of this important bill."

State representatives have been given a choice to attend either in person or remotely by the internet.

Members who are attending in person are being asked to follow a set of guidelines to maintain proper social distancing.

The Assembly is set to convene at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, vfor the extraordinary session, which will be broadcast on the internet by Wisconsin Eye at

State Senator Robert Cowles, R-Green Bay, said he wants to make sure the legislation includes controls to prevent the misuse of funds intended for relief during the pandemic.

Cowles, co-chair of the legislature's fraud-busting Joint Committee of the Audit, wants a provision to increase oversight and accountability through the award-winning non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau.

"This provision would direct the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, beginning on July 1, 2020 and continuing into the following year, to review government programs impacted by COVID-19 and expenditures made by state agencies with funds authorized and spent by our state government. The findings from these reviews will be published quarterly and available publicly, with the results presented for consideration by the bipartisan Joint Legislative Audit Committee," Cowles said. “While Wisconsin will see billions of dollars in needed financial resources from the CARES Act to combat COVID-19 and assist individuals, businesses, and local governments, disbursing these vast resources in short order carries an immense amount of risk for mismanagement and potential waste."


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