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Contents

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Federal Updates

The National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) has put together a summary of the most recent federal bill that passed. In the State Allocation for monies from the Federal Government, Wisconsin is due to receive about $2.3 Billion. 55% of that is to go to State functions and 45% of that is to be passed on to local governments.

Some of the Items that may be of interest to you are:

Direct Payments to Citizens

  • Lower- and middle-income Americans. Individuals get $1,200, and married couples get $2,400—$500 per child younger than age 17.
  • Payments phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes over $75,000 ($150,000 for couples). Anyone making over $99,000 would not get a payment ($198,000 for couples). Money is expected to go out by April 6.

US Department of Labor - Expanded Unemployment Benefits 

  • 360 million for Department of Labor to invest in programs that provide training and supportive services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers and homeless veterans. Includes funding for implementing new paid leave and unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Expands unemployment insurance from three to four months, and provides temporary unemployment compensation of $600 per week, which is in addition to and the same time as regular state and federal UI benefits.
    • Part-time, self-employed and gig economy workers now have access to UI benefits.
    • Allows employers to receive an advance tax credit from the Treasury instead of having to be reimbursed on the back end.
    • $260 billion investment into the unemployment insurance program.
    • Creates regulatory authority to implement the tax credit advances.

 US Department of Agriculture

  • $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) to improve COVID-19 effects.
  • $9.5 billion in additional assistance for livestock and specialty crops, such as fruit, vegetables and nuts. Funding would also be available for dairy producers, and producers who support local food systems such as farmers markets and schools.
  • $25 million to the USDA’s Rural Development Grant Program for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program, as well as $100 million to the USDA’s ReConnect program to help ensure rural Americans have access to broadband. 
  • $20.5 million to the Rural Business Development Grant Program to support business and industry loans. 
Safer At Home Order

Health officials increasingly believe that a significant proportion of COVID-19 cases show no visible symptoms despite the individuals being highly contagious. Pre-symptomatic spread means that many people are able to pass the infection on unknowingly. So, while quarantining people once they are symptomatic is really important, we have to limit the opportunities that the virus has to spread from person to person. That is where the concept of "safer at home" comes in, attempting to limit the spread between individuals, it is vital that we reduce the number of interactions there are between groups of people. The best way to do that is to keep people at home.

 

Please visit my legislative website and on the banner you will find a section with a variety of links related to this pandemic. One of the links is Executive Order 12, the "Safer at Home" Order.

 

Stay at home or your place of residence expect for: essential activities, essential governmental functions, essential businesses and operations, minimum basic operations, essential travel, & special situations. Any time people do need to leave for one of the previously prescribed activities, they are asked to practice social distancing.  

 

My office has seen most people have questions about what qualifies as an “essential business”. The order defines this beginning in section 13, found on page 9. If you still have questions about whether or not a business qualifies, please contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and fill out this form. WEDC will be reviewing employers on a case-by-case basis.

Take Care of Yourself.

These are some unprecedented time we are facing. And while we are all isolated physically at home, please take care of yourself. Many people are worried and afraid right now – the fear of the unknown and the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic is taking a toll on people’s mental health. If you find yourself feeling anxious or overwhelmed, PLEASE reach out to a trained crisis counselor. You can connect with one by dialing 1-800-985-5990 or by texting “TalkWithUS” to 66747.

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How You Can Help

**** Please be advised you should only help if you are healthy and free of symptoms of COVID-19***

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' ” - Mr. (Fred) Rogers

Here are a few ways that you can help:

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  • Donate blood. Blood is in short supply at this time. The Red Cross has the resources to take blood donations safely. Click here to find a local blood drive near you.
  • Donate supplies. Wisconsinites can now donate or sell large quantities of PPE to the State of Wisconsin and the SEOC to distribute supplies to high-need communities. In high demand, particularly are:  Surgical Gowns (S, L, XL, and XXL), Face/Surgical Masks (adult, pediatric), Gloves (Nitrile, Vinyl, or Butyl), N-95 Particulate Respirators, Isolation Gowns, Face Shields, Tyvek Coveralls, Thermometers, & Foot Coverings. If organizations or businesses have quantities of fewer than 50 of any of these items, they are encouraged to donate them to local health organizations instead of going through the buyback website. This is the website.
  • Volunteer. Many groups are organizing initiatives to provide community services to help those affected by COVID-19. Click here to find service opportunities near you.
  • For Restaurateurs – donate food.   DATCP released some guidance on how to properly donate to a food pantry or shelter. ONLY donate UNUSED food that originate from an approved source that are prepacked in their original container. Other than fruits and vegetables, do NOT donate perishable items.
  • Get Take-out or Delivery. Local Businesses are truly hurting right now and to whatever extent is possible for you right now, please patronize local restaurants. A list of restaurants still open can be found here, but I would highly encourage you to call ahead to make sure they are still open and what their current hours of operation are.
  • Limit stockpiling. Grocery stores will remain open and accessible throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. While occasional temporary shortages may occur, they are made worse by people hoarding supplies. Please buy only what you need for about 2 weeks at a time.
  • Keep up social distancing! I keep repeating it because it remains, by far, the most important thing you can do. Making sure that we all take every precaution we can to avoid spreading the disease to others must be everyone’s number-1 priority.

 NEWSLETTER

Please be advised. My end of session legislative newsletter will be arriving in your mailbox in the next couple of days.

This newsletter was put together long before COVID-19 began affecting the daily lives of the constituents of the 50th Assembly District. This is why there is an absence of information pertaining to the pandemic in the newsletter.