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  • Safer at Home Update
  • Childcare Providers
  • Governor's Excuses
  • CDC Guidelines


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Safer at Home Update

Over the last few days, I have seen a lot of public confusion regarding the administrative rulemaking process in Wisconsin as it pertains to the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First and foremost, it is my intention to protect individual liberties that we all hold dear. Our response to the pandemic should not be a one-size-fits-all, black and white approach as Governor Evers has approached COVID-19.

Last week, the Evers administration released a scope statement in an attempt to promulgate an emergency rule with language that would reinstate elements of the Safer-at-Home order. Scope statements provide a broad overview of what an agency will try to accomplish through a rule.

Earlier this week, the Evers administration formally withdrew this proposed rule from the committee that oversees this process.

Had Gov. Evers moved forward with the rule, here is an outline of the emergency rulemaking process:

Once the scope statement is approved by the Governor, it will need to be printed in the LRB Administrative Register. Then a 10-day review period begins on the scoping statement. During those 10 days, the agency must wait to complete the language of the draft emergency rule until the conclusion of the scoping statement review period.

After the 10 days, the agency could complete the emergency rule language at any point and then publish notice of the completed emergency rule in the state newspaper (in theory this could be as little as 1-2 days). Upon publication of a notice in the state newspaper, the emergency rule is effective and enforceable for at least 150 days and it can only be extended by approval of the JCRAR for two additional 60-day periods.

JCRAR only has the power to suspend part(s) or the entire emergency rule starting on its effective date or any time thereafter. JCRAR doesn’t have the ability to seek modifications or make changes in the language of an emergency rule since it is already in effect when it arrives under the jurisdiction of the joint committee.

As always, please contact me with any questions and I will do my best to address them. It is our intention to protect Wisconsin’s most vulnerable populations while at the same time helping Wisconsin begin to financially recover from the Safer at Home” order.



Support for Childcare Providers

Last week, the Joint Committee on Finance approved a plan to support childcare providers around the state. Like so many industries across Wisconsin, childcare centers are feeling the brunt of COVID-19.

According to the Department of Children and Families (DCF), there were more than 4,500 child care providers in February of 2020. In April, approximately 38% of providers (1,756) are closed across the state. 54% or 1,206 licensed group child care providers are closed.

To help child care providers, DCF submitted a plan for allocating over $51 million to child care providers to increase pay for workers and re-open closed child care centers. This funding was approved by Congress and President Trump as a part of the CARES Act.

Like the Department of Public Instruction plan that was recently submitted and approved by the Joint Committee on Finance, the DCF plan included a large allocation for administrative costs that would not flow directly to child care providers.

As a result of discussions with the committee, DCF agreed to reduce this amount by $2 million to allow more funding to be directly provided to providers. Recognizing the dire need for these resources the budget committee approved of this plan 3 days early.

Calling on Governor to Stop His Excuses

After the Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) wasted no time trying to blame the ruling for their persistent woes in trying to process unemployment claims. Earlier this week, it was reported that one in three claims is unpaid. 

The buck stops with Governor Evers.  DWD needs to spend more time working to find ways to speed up the claims process and less time making excuses for their inability to effectively process unemployment claims. We have constituents that have been waiting over 60 days for benefits.  Enough is enough.  We need more action and less time passing blame.

After the Supreme Court ruling, DWD updated its FAQs to blame the court ruling for putting individuals in adjudication.  Interestingly, DWD did not do the same when Governor Evers “turned the dial” to allow certain businesses to open with Emergency Order #34. 

This week the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that DWD still has not extended call center hours even though one in every three claims have gone unpaid.  I am again calling for DWD to extend call center hours.  As of this morning, DWD’s website continues to show call center hours from 7:35am to 3:30pm even though DWD claimed it would extend hours from 7:00am to 5pm.  Even if this extension occurs, it is not enough.  The call center should be open seven days a week with extended hours until the backlog is eliminated.  

I am also calling on DWD to post on its website daily updates on all backlogged claims, the reasons the claims are in pending status and how many calls DWD takes and how many callers cannot get through.  More transparency may lead to better decisions to responsibly expedite these claims.  It does not take a new IT system to be transparent or to add call center hours.

Today, the Marinette Eagle Herald published my press release on this issue. Please click the below picture to read it online

Please Continue to Follow CDC Guidelines

Last Saturday, On Saturday, the EagleHerald published my 'Letter to the Editor'. You can read it below:

Dear Editor,

Friends, while it is great news for our state that we are starting to re-open, it’s important that we do so in a responsible way to keep our most vulnerable healthy. The COVID-19 virus is still a threat to vulnerable populations and will continue to be until there is a widely distributed vaccine.

Since day one, I have held the belief and trust that business owners and consumers will make the correct decision for themselves and their families. For the time being, that will be the new normal, businesses should remain incentivized to provide their customers and employees a safe working environment.

I strongly encourage businesses to continue to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing and cleaning and disinfecting whenever possible. They should also consider the guidelines provided by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

If you are part of a high-risk population group, please take extra precautions. The CDC has listed the elderly (above 65) and individuals with underlying health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure as groups of concern. You can find the full list on the CDC website. The virus is still very dangerous for these populations and their families.

We are all in this together. Responsibly we can re-open our state together and continue to move forward and close this chapter in our history. Thank you for your continued dedication and I look forward to what the future holds for our state!

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