Assembly passes second major coronavirus relief package.

The legislation would allow Wisconsin to receive billions in federal aid and makes regulatory changes to aid Wisconsinites. Photo: Wisconsin Assembly GOP, public domain.

Author: Sam Buisman

The Wisconsin Assembly passes a second coronavirus relief bill, but some legislators think it doesn’t go far enough.

In a bipartisan 97-2 vote, the state Assembly passed a bill Tuesday evening that makes the necessary legislative changes for Wisconsin to receive coronavirus aid from the federal CARES act and eases certain regulations to accommodate Wisconsinites. However, many Democrats criticized the bill for not including any significant spending provisions to stimulate Wisconsin’s economy.

If passed by the state Senate and signed into law, the bill would waive the one-week waiting period on unemployment benefits until February, ban health insurance providers from denying coverage or setting prices based on a COVID-19 diagnosis, require that health insurance policies that generally cover infectious diseases cover COVID-19 testing without any copay or coinsurance, and exempts Wisconsin primary students of standardized test requirements for the 2019-2020 school year along with many other provisions.

Speaker Robin Vos, one of the co-introductors of the bill praised the bipartisan efforts that went into this bill.

“This vote proves that our state can come together during these unprecedented times,” the speaker said through a press release.

However, state Democrats characterized the bill as, in the words of Democrat Assembly Leader Gordon Hintz, “a positive first step,” arguing that the bill does not provide an adequate economic safety net for Wisconsinites afflicted by the virus.

With its passage in the Assembly, the bill will need to be passed by the State Senate and signed by Governor Tony Evers before it becomes law.