GOP gavels in, gavels out of unemployment session

Wisconsin State Capitol

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican legislative leaders have refused to convene for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ special session on his plan to upgrade the state’s unemployment benefits system.

Evers announced the session during his State of the State speech earlier this month and called for it to begin at noon on Tuesday.

Republican leaders in the Assembly gaveled in at 12:30 p.m. and immediately gaveled out. Senate Republicans followed suit a half hour later.

The state Department of Workforce Development has been struggling to process millions of unemployment claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.

Republicans have spent months criticizing Evers over the backlog, accusing him of making people wait for months for payouts. Evers has blamed an antiquated processing system.