Gov. Tony Evers calls for special legislative session to fix ‘broken’ unemployment system

State Of State: Evers Targets Broadband, Fixing Unemployment
Morry Gash

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a member of Wisconsin's Electoral College, casts his vote at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers has called for a special session of the Legislature at noon on Jan. 19 to address the state’s “broken” unemployment system.

Evers signed Executive Order #103 following his 2021 State of the State address.

“I’m announcing today I will be calling a special session of the Legislature to take up a plan to modernize our unemployment system and help ensure nothing like this happens to the people of Wisconsin again,” Evers said in his address. “We know that replacing this system will take years—that’s why it should’ve been done sooner, but it’s also why we now have not another moment to waste. No politics, no posturing, send me the bill and let’s just get it done.”

The state’s Department of Workforce Development has faced criticism for delays with distributing unemployment payments to those impacted by the pandemic.

An audit by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau showed DWD sometimes waited weeks to start processing unemployment claims.

Evers has proposed a plan that would appropriate more than $5.3 million for the DWD to start work on modernizing the state’s UI system.