Over the weekend, Governor Evers released the
draft COVID-19 legislative package
he has been asking the Legislature to enact since March 21. The package includes the following items:
- Provides each municipality with a supplemental shared revenue payment in 2020 equal to 1 percent of its estimated county and municipal aid payment in 2020. (Total additional shared revenue spending would be increased by 7.5 million)
- Mandates that voters vote by mail using an absentee ballot at any election held during the period covered by an executive order declaring a public health emergency. The absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than the day of the election and no witness signature is required for any such ballot.
- Waives the voter ID requirement in order to vote at any election held during the period covered by the governor's declaration of a public health emergency.
- Provides funding for DHS to provide aid to local health departments and allows the expenditure of those moneys in fiscal year 2020-21.
- Authorizes DOA to provide printing services to counties, towns,villages, and cities.
It is highly unlikely that the Legislature will pass the Governor's proposed changes. Senate majority leader Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Vos stated publicly late last week that they are not supportive of the changes to the election laws included in the package. GOP leadership questioned the practicality of conducting a mail-in only spring election. Leadership has also indicated no interest in authorizing additional spending given the likelihood that state revenues for the remainder of 2020 will be much less than anticipated.
The Legislature has not announced any immediate plans to meet in extraordinary session and no legislative floor periods are currently scheduled. However, that could change fast. Meanwhile, individual legislators are drafting and introducing bills designed to help municipalities address challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ability to Change Property Tax Installment Due Dates
For example, Sen. Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Rep. Hutton (R-Brookfield) are planning to introduce a bill (LRB 5946) the League supports giving municipalities the flexibility to pass an ordinance during the COVID-19 public emergency changing due dates for property tax installment payments. The bill also allows municipalities to waive or reduce interest and penalties accrued on any late payment.
We will keep you informed when this bill is introduced and when and if the Legislature plans to meet on COVID-19 issues.