From a release from the governor’s office: Gov. Tony Evers today announced he will deliver the upcoming State of the State address and biennial budget message virtually as COVID-19 continues to surge across the state. The State of the State address will be delivered at 7:00 p.m. on Tues., January 12, 2021, and pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 16.45, the governor has requested to deliver his budget message at 7:00 p.m. on Tues., February 16, 2021.
“I have spent the better part of the last year encouraging Wisconsinites to stay home as often as possible, practice social distancing, and limit interactions and gatherings with people outside of their immediate households. As you both know, I believe elected leaders must lead by example,” said Gov. Evers in a letter to legislative leaders. “To this end, and consistent with our continued recommendations to Wisconsinites, I will deliver my State of the State address and budget message to Wisconsinites virtually next year.”
The governor also encouraged the Legislature to convene virtually to receive the State of the State address and budget message, consistent with the recommendations from public health officials to practice social distancing.
According to Wispolitics.com, governors are required by state law to deliver the biennial budget message on or before the last Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years but lawmakers routinely grant requests to delay delivery.
Evers noted in a letter to Assembly Speaker Vos and Senate President Kapenga that former Gov. Scott Walker presented his second budget address on Feb. 20, 2013. Waiting until Feb. 16 to deliver his second budget would ensure his budget can take into account the economic forecast the Legislative Fiscal Bureau is expected to release in late January including revenue projections for the 2021-23 biennium.
Two years ago, Evers asked GOP lawmakers for permission to deliver his first budget on March 5 but ended up releasing it and delivering his speech on Feb. 28.