Wisconsin Legislature Rejects Governor’s Special Session on Child Care, Worker Shortages

Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled Legislature on Wednesday ignored Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ call for a special session to pass a $1 billion package that would keep a pandemic-era child care program running, send more money to the University of Wisconsin and create a paid family leave program. The special session remains open, giving lawmakers a chance to revisit Evers’ bills or, take up other proposals at a future date.

The package Governor Evers called on Republicans to pass would spend $365 million to make permanent the pandemic-era federally funded Child Care Counts program that’s set to end in January. The program distributed nearly $600 million to more than 4,900 child care providers from March 2020 through March 2023, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Governor Evers’ proposal goes beyond child care funding.

It would also provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for Wisconsin workers starting in 2025 at a cost of $243 million, and would give UW an additional $66 million.

The Evers package also includes $40 million more for the Wisconsin Technical College System; $100 million more for a grant program targeting healthcare-related worker shortages; $60 million for programs targeting nursing shortages; and $16 million to address teacher shortages.