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Evers, Vos call meeting on COVID-19 relief ‘productive’

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Tony Evers said his meeting this morning with Republican legislators about providing more relief during the COVID-19 pandemic was productive.

"I thought it when well, we went through our proposed legislation, what they like what they didn't like a robust conversation about that," Evers told 27 News.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos agreed, and said the conversation was a positive step forward.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, also was on the phone.

This was their first meeting in six months since Republican legislative leaders met back in May.

A spokesperson for the governor said they plan to meet again the week after Thanksgiving. Gov. Evers said his staff will meet before then to see if there's a package of bills they can agree on.

"There was no shouting or screaming we pretty much answered questions and I look forward to finding a solution soon," Evers said.

Evers has put forward a package of 19 bills totaling in $541 million to bolster various parts of Wisconsin's pandemic response.

The governor would like to extend the waiver of the one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance, a measure included in the first COVID-19 response bill passed in April that is slated to expire at the end of the year.

Evers also wants to require insurance companies to cover COVID-19 treatment and testing.

Assembly Republicans, led by Vos, came out with their own list of ideas, but have not yet turned those into actionable legislation.

In a statement after Friday's meeting, Vos said:

“I want to thank Governor Evers and Senate Majority Leader LeMahieu for talking today.  It was a productive discussion and as expected, there were issues we agreed on and some that we didn’t. Regardless, I see today’s conversation as a positive step forward to finding common ground in developing a more unified state response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Among their proposals are expanding testing and contact tracing capacities, providing aid to small businesses and giving more resources to health care providers.

The state last passed a bill responding to the pandemic in mid-April.

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