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In This Edition:

What ARE we doing?: Some insight into state legislature activity...

State Parks: Rep. Allen statement on Closure of State Parks...

Unemployment Insurance: New information and statistics....

Waukesha Water Utility: Planning for the future...

West Waukesha Bypass: New Lane Closures...

Quick Links: NEW links and updated information...

 

 

What ARE we doing?!

Lately, Legislators have been worked diligently to formulate good policy solutions that will benefits Wisconsinites during this tough time.  Legislators participate in conference calls multiple days per week, and are continually working with leaders statewide to bring you the best solutions. 

In addition to conference calls, legislators and staff also receive weekly briefings from state agencies, who are all working overtime to meet your needs. 

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This week, Rep. Allen participated in a call with President Trump along with nearly one thousand (1,000) other local leaders from around the nation.

Rep. Allen and staff also actively participated in a discussion, accompanied by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), that detailed how the federal CARES Act will help Wisconsinites, and what the role of the Legislature would be.

Lastly, 97th Assembly District staff participated in a briefing call with Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).

These activities help us to bring you accurate information, and also help bring constituent ideas and needs directly to the state agencies. 


 Rep. Allen Statement on Closure of State Parks

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Rep. Allen released the following statement on the closure of state parks:

The order by Gov. Evers to shut down 40 state parks across southern Wisconsin has gone too far.  

We have done a good job of social distancing for the last couple of weeks.  We are seeing evidence that would suggest that the curve is being flattened.  The last thing we need to do now is punish people by not allowing them to enjoy the great outdoors.

By the governor’s own admission, the decision is based on litter, crowds, and vandalism.  The administration should have anticipated an increase in popularity of the parks. What else is there for people to do?  Resources should be reallocated to address the demand.

Governor Evers is doing his best to create a nanny state.  Healthy people are by now aware of the risks and smart risk reduction measures like keeping physical distance, sneezing into elbows, etc.  Let them live their lives!

The patience of the people of Wisconsin will only go so far.  The Governor is running out of time.   


Department of Workforce Development, Unemployment Information and Statistics

The State Department of Workforce Development has been working diligently to help Wisconsinites through this uncertain time. Legislators are soon planning on taking up legislation that would eliminate the first week waiting period to qualify for unemployment insurance. This will make Wisconsin claimants compatible with the Federal support provisions.

Below, see statistics and information on our state's unemployment agency and unemployment application process. 

  • Over 150 Unemployment Insurance Division's (UI) employees are working overtime.
  • Trained and transferred 35 employees from another DWD division to assist the UI call center, with an additional 45 being trained for part-time assistance.
  • Assigned eight employees to make outgoing calls to applicants whose online applications require contact with DWD staff.
    • Online claimants who were previously instructed to call DWD should now receive a message that a claims specialist will call them back within five business days to assist them in completing their initial claim. 

Federal CARES Act Information

As many of you know, the federal government has passed several COVID-19 response packages. As part of these developments, some Wisconsinites will be able to access additional unemployment benefits. DWD is in the process of updating their systems and creating the tools necessary to provide these.

DWD expects to take applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program the week of April 21, 2020. PUA temporarily expands UI eligibility to those who are otherwise ineligible for state UI benefits, including those who are self-employed, free lancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by COVID-19. 

The CARES Act also created the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which provides an additional $600 per week through July 31, 2020 to those who are eligible for UI or PUA benefits. Wisconsin hopes to take initial claims the week of April 21, 2020 and start making these payments the week of April 26, 2020. 

 

How the Unemployment Insurance Application Process Works 

First, applicants apply by making an "initial claim." Generally, this occurs online. If need be, someone can apply by phone as well. In some cases, when someone applies online, they may need to follow up with our staff to verify some information. If that occurs, they will receive a call from our UI staff within five business days.

After that initial claim, the first week of eligibility is known as the "waiting week." During this time, an eligible claimant does not receive a benefit. After the waiting week passes, a claimant will file their first "weekly claim." Payments are typically sent out within a few days of that first weekly claim. The vast majority of payments are made by direct deposit, with the remainder by issuing debit cards.

If someone's application is lacking important information or if there is something that needs to be investigated, that can add several days or more to the process, depending on how quickly that information is obtained.Depending on the issue, the claim may be in up to 21 business days. 

 


Waukesha Water Utility - Planning for the Future

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While working around the clock on to keep your water safe to drink and use in your daily life, employees and planners at the Waukesha Water Utility have continued to move Forward with their construction plans to complete the change in the city's water supply to Lake Michigan water by 2023. 

On March 10, both the City of Waukesha and the City of New Berlin came to an agreement on the placement of the necessary booster pumping station that would transfer water back to Lake Michigan. 

The agreement will eventually furnish the city with 20 acres of park land, as well as opportunity for greater development of a Nike missile site on the city's east side. 

Planners and Engineers have also begun distributing and implementing the bidding process for construction contracts. With the hope that construction will begin in the late summer season, it is anticipated that the construction process will bring roughly 300 jobs to the area. 


West Waukesha Bypass- New Lane Closures 

 The State Department of Transportation (DOT), in co-decision with their contractor, has implemented a plan that will help shorten the construction timeline of the West Waukesha Bypass. By closing and paving the northbound lanes in several sections of the roadway, it is expected to shave a few weeks off construction time in the end. See the full details here

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Quick Links 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin Hospitals Association - Healthcare System Updates

COVID-19 State Services

Assembly Republican COVID-19 Resource Page 

Small Business Administration COVID-19 Resources

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Unemployment Insurance

WI DWD Unemployment Insurance Information in Spanish

American Red Cross

Local Dining Options