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Wisconsin Assembly passes COVID-19 bill Senate GOP opposes

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 3:27 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2021 at 7:08 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (AP/WMTV) — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature is divided on a coronavirus response bill that the state Assembly has passed but that the Senate GOP leader says his chamber opposes.

Even if the current bill were to somehow pass the full Legislature, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has signaled his opposition and would likely veto the measure.

Evers and Assembly Democrats have their own proposals that Republicans don’t support.

“We offered commonsense solutions but they were rejected, so now we are left with a final proposal that leaves our biggest COVID-19 needs unmet,” said Democratic Rep. Sara Rodriguez during her first floor speech.

The Legislature hasn’t passed anything related to the pandemic since April, and recent talks between Evers and Republican leaders failed to result in a deal.

The GOP-controlled Assembly passed the bill on Thursday. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who authored the legislation, said he is still hopeful the State Senate will take up the proposal.

“For them to have a change of heart would be surprising but I guess we have to wait and see,” he said.

The bill includes 44 provisions ranging from addressing the unemployment backlog, COVID-19 liability protections for businesses, to virtual learning policies for schools.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.