Wisconsin GOP adds virus provision to unemployment measure

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican lawmakers are injecting a contentious provision from their failed COVID-19 relief bill into Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to upgrade the state’s unemployment claim technology.

Evers called a special legislative session in January to pass a bill that would hand the Department of Workforce Development $5.3 million to modernize the claims system.

The upgrades are desperately needed to handle a massive influx of pandemic-related claims. Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee on Wednesday revised the bill to eliminate the funding and force the agency to come to them as it needs money.

They also added a provision that would create liability exemptions for coronavirus-related deaths and injuries.

Evers vetoed a bill with such exemptions earlier this month.