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Assembly, Senate releases COVID-19 bill plans

While he does not agree with everything in the proposal, Rep. Joel Kitchens believes common ground can be met to address the growing needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Released on Tuesday, the proposal would require teachers to head back to the classroom unless they had an approved medical reason and school districts to only go into virtual instruction in two week increments pending two-thirds board approval. The bill would also protect districts from people trying to sue because of possible exposure. The Sturgeon Bay Republican does not want to force anybody back, but he says learning should take place in the classroom if possible.

Under the plans, the Legislature’s budget committee would also have more say in how federal CARES Act funds are distributed and the power to transfer approximately $100 million from other agencies to address the pandemic. Kitchens believes the legislature should have more of a say in how the state’s money is spent during this time.

He hopes the Assembly and Governor Tony Evers can come together on some common ground so help can come to many Wisconsinites. He admits they also have to come together with the Senate, which released its own plans on Tuesday as well. If approved, this would be the first bill the Wisconsin Legislature has approved regarding the state’s COVID-19 response since April.

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