MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – The upcoming State of the State address and biennial budget message will be delivered virtually as COVID-19 continues to surge across Wisconsin.
Governor Tony Evers made the announcement Wednesday, saying the address will be delivered at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Gov. Evers has also requested to deliver his budget message at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
“I have spent the better part of the last year encouraging Wisconsinites to stay home as often as possible, practice social distancing, and limit interactions and gatherings with people outside of their immediate households. As you both know, I believe elected leaders must lead by example,” says Gov. Evers in a letter to legislative leaders. “To this end, and consistent with our continued recommendations to Wisconsinites, I will deliver my State of the State address and budget message to Wisconsinites virtually next year.”
The governor is also encouraging the Legislature to convene virtually to receive the State of the State address and budget message, consistent with the recommendations from public health officials to practice social distancing.
“As we begin a new legislative session in January, we must continue our work building on the down payment we made during the last legislative session on increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare, fully funding our public schools, and fixing our roads and bridges. We must also acknowledge and expect, however, that like so many things this past year, this legislative session might look differently than it has before…I look forward to working together and having a productive legislative session in the new year.”
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Wisconsin Assembly Republicans are backing a $100 million coronavirus relief package, about a fifth of what Gov. Evers wants to spend on fighting the virus.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said Tuesday that Senate Republicans had “serious concerns” about new spending. The back and forth came on the day that Wisconsin reported a new record-high number of deaths.