Capitol Report

The state Senate postponed its planned session on March 24 because of restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the Senate will likely schedule an extraordinary session later this spring to take up bills that the chamber had planned to consider during that session. The Legislature may also convene to modify state laws to ease burdens on local governments and businesses related to the COVID-19 outbreak. As of Pulse press time, no session had been scheduled. However, on March 25, the Senate did test its emergency virtual session technology should the chamber need to meet under the existing mobility restrictions.

Emergency Order #7

Gov. Tony Evers issued Emergency Order #7, which waives work-search requirements for unemployment-insurance benefits for workers affected by COVID-19. State law requires workers who apply for unemployment benefits to conduct four work searches per week, but Evers’ emergency order waives this requirement. The order took effect retroactively, beginning March 12.

Emergency Order #11

Evers also issued Emergency Order #11, which prevents state-regulated utilities from disconnecting service following nonpayment, issuing late penalties or requiring deposits for reconnection of service; and allows deferred-payment agreements for all customers who request them. 

“It is critically important to give people flexibility during this emergency, when paychecks might be disrupted, to keep the lights and heat on and water flowing,” Evers said in a press release.