Analysis: Governor Evers’ Public Health Emergency Bill

March 30, 2020

Late Saturday, March 28, Governor Evers leaked a 65-page bill that he presented to Republicans. The bill would grant new powers & provide new spending, supposedly needed to fight COVID-19. Evers’ bill would, during a public health emergency:

1) Suspend voter ID requirements

2) Allow voting by mail & waive witness requirement

3) Allow electronic voter registration until April 2 (without photo ID)

4) Make it easier for the Department of Health Services to declare an emergency, give DHS unlimited spending authority during a public health emergency, & give “all powers necessary to respond”

5) Allow public health emergencies to go on indefinitely (versus the current 60-day limit)

6) Allow the DHS to seek federal waivers without any oversight

7) Increase staffing at DHS by 64 positions

8) Give $17 million to local health agencies

9) Give $100 million to hospitals & health care providers

10) Give the Department of Administration new unchecked $200 million of spending authority during a public health emergency (if DOA goes over $200 mil, the spending would be reviewed by the Joint Finance Committee)

11) Give $20 million to local government emergency assistance

12) Give $7.5 million to county & municipal governments

13) Give Military Affairs new unchecked $300 million in spending authority

14) Allocate $100 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding to expand welfare, & allocate $25 million GPR in grants to child care providers

15) During a public health emergency, eligibility for W2 welfare would go from 115% of federal poverty level to 200% & if your employer closes or if you miss work because of child care, the bill would grant payment of $653 to an individual

16) W2 job access loan eligibility would go from 115% of the federal poverty level to 200%. The bill would give out $1,600 in loans for an individual and suspend requirements that loan be repaid

17) Emergency assistance to families program would be expanded to 200% of the federal poverty level for a payment of $1,200 per individual & those between 18-24 yrs old, WITHOUT CHILDREN, would become eligible

18) Create a new grant program to pay employers to provide child care for the essential workforce

19) Create a new grant program for child care providers so they can be paid hazard pay during a public health emergency

20) Increase the WI Economic Development Corp’s funding by $25 million

21) Suspend the school accountability report cards & allow the DPI to waive any requirements of schools

22) Require all school employees be paid at regular rate & cannot be laid off

23) Suspend apartment evictions during a public emergency and 45 days after

24) Delete the one week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits

25) Require insurance to cover telemedicine services

26) Prevent insurance companies from cancelling a policy during public health emergency and 90 days after, or would prevent companies from changing a policy because of COVID-19

27) Require insurance companies to cover testing & treatment of COVID-19 & prohibit co-pays and deductibles for COVID-19

28) Prohibit any prior authorization requirement for any prescription drug refill

29) Allow a pharmacist, under certain circumstances, to extend prescriptions up to 30 days, & longer if medicine is packaged that way

30) Allow former health care workers to obtain new temporary credentials to practice medicine

31) AND, allow temporary credentials for health care workers from other states & suspends health care credential renewals during a public health emergency.

MacIver will continue to update as we follow this developing story.