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Evers to deliver State of State address virtually

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers plans to deliver his third State of the State address virtually on Jan. 12, saying the unprecedented move is consistent with his recommendations to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic and limit interactions and gatherings.

Evers also announced Wednesday that he’s asked to deliver his state budget address virtually on Feb. 16. Evers is asking the Legislature to convene virtually for both speeches.

Governors have historically given both speeches in the state Assembly chamber to joint gatherings of the Legislature, members of the Supreme Court, the governor’s Cabinet and other guests. But much like everything else since the pandemic hit, it will not be business as usual this time.

“I believe elected leaders must lead by example,” Evers said in a letter to legislative leaders announcing his plans to deliver virtual speeches.

The State of the State address is the chance for a governor to lay out their priorities for the coming year. The budget address goes into more detail, spelling out how the governor wants the state to spend money over the next two years. It’s the launching pad for budget negotiations that will serve as the focus of the Legislature’s work for the first half of 2021.

Evers told lawmakers he wants to increase access to quality, affordable health care, fully fund public schools and invest in fixing roads and bridges. He also said that fighting COVID-19, and distributing a vaccine as it becomes available, will also be priorities.

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