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Weekly E-Update

Dear Neighbor,

Welcome to my latest e-update. Here is a summary from the past week as your State Representative. 

As always, previous updates are available on our website and social media. 

Please contact my office with any questions or concerns.

Forward together,

Robyn Vining  

Healthcare Heroes Act

On Wednesday, January 12th,  alongside my colleagues Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit), Rep. Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee), State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point), and Sen. Melissa Agard (D-Madison), I introduced the Healthcare Heroes Act, legislation in support of healthcare workers in Wisconsin.

Frontline healthcare workers have been performing jobs vital for patients and public health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From hospitals and nursing homes to homecare agencies and first responder roles, frontline healthcare workers continue to risk their own health and that of their families. 

We have heard directly from healthcare heroes about the circumstances confronting them — it is up to us to act on their needs and with the urgency the situation demands. Wisconsin healthcare heroes are counting on us to act. Healthcare workers have been doing their job, and now it’s our turn to do ours.

Contact legislators or committee members, and ask them to sign on to the Healthcare Heroes Act! 

To see the full press release, please click HERE.

News Coverage of the Healthcare Heroes Act

Did you see us on the news? With Wisconsin setting new hospitalization records across the state, the re-introduction of the Healthcare Heroes act has received support from frontline workers around the state. 

To learn more about the work healthcare workers do each shift and how this bill helps them, please click HERE.

Healthcare Connections Act

This week I introduced the Healthcare Connections Act with Senator Chris Larson and Senator Tim Carpenter, which would help reduce the uninsured population by connecting uninsured households with the already existing BadgerCare and ACA subsidy programs.

Access to healthcare is critical for everyone! Based on data from 2019, over 400,000 Wisconsinites did not have health insurance for at least part of the year, and over 150,000 were without insurance for the entire year. More than 46,000 of the uninsured in Wisconsin are children. This bill seeks to change that by reducing our uninsured population in an innovative way.

Similar legislation has been enacted in Maryland and Massachusetts, with more states planning to join them in the near future. The measures have passed in a strongly bipartisan fashion. In the first 2 years, Maryland reported that 7,000 residents became insured through this program.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to remind all of us of the importance of ensuring that all Wisconsinites have access to affordable, quality healthcare.  

Health Committee Executive Session Summary

On Wednesday, January 12th, the Assembly Committee on Health held an executive session to vote on 13 bills. The committee had previously heard testimony on these bills during various public hearings earlier this session.

  • Assembly Bill 396: Relating to advanced practice registered nurses, extending the time limit for emergency rule procedures, providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures, and granting rule-making authority.
  • Assembly Bill 86: Relating to providing complementary and alternative health care practitioners with exemptions from practice protection laws, requirements and prohibitions for individuals who provide complementary and alternative health care services, and providing a penalty.
  • Assembly Bill 181: Relating to newborn screening for Krabbe disease and requiring evaluation of additional lysosomal storage disorders for mandatory screening.
  • Assembly Bill 485: Relating to prior authorization of specially formulated nutritional supplements and replacements.
  • Senate Bill 453: Relating to prior authorization of specially formulated nutritional supplements and replacements
  • Assembly Bill 529: Relating to the regulation and licensure of naturopathic doctors, creating a naturopathic medicine examining board, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.
  • Assembly Bill 537: Relating to ratification of the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact.
  • Assembly Bill 656: Relating to qualification of international medical graduates to practice medicine and surgery.
  • Assembly Bill 720: Relating to practice of certain skilled health services by military medical personnel and granting rule-making authority.
  • Assembly Bill 763: Relating to Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact and granting rule-making authority.
  • Assembly Bill 765: Relating to: modifying and creating administrative rules to require reimbursement for group physical therapy under the Medical Assistance program.

I heard from nearly 60 constituents about the bills in this Executive session. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and perspectives with me! 

Democratic Assembly Caucus and Joint Finance Committee update

On January 11th, Rep. Greta Neubauer (Racine) became Minority Leader of the Assembly Democratic Caucus. She is the youngest person to lead a caucus since 1943. Assistant Leader-Elect Kalan Haywood (Milwaukee) will take over the role of Assistant Minority Leader next month. 

I am also excited to share that Rep. Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield) will be replacing Rep. Greta Neubauer on the Joint Finance Committee for the remainder of this session.

For more information, please click HERE.

Wisconsin State Assembly in Session Next Week

Next week on Thursday, January 20th at 11:00am the Assembly will be in session. The full list of bills that will be brought to the floor for a vote has not been finalized yet. Stay tuned for more information!

January is Human Trafficking Month

January is Human Trafficking Prevention month. Today we focus on sex trafficking, an egregious crime. When it comes to sex trafficking, we have a devastating reality in Wisconsin, and one I’ve worked to combat for over a decade. 80% of sex trafficking victims are women and children.

As Wisconsin state legislators we must declare a zero tolerance for sexual violence, and work to end this nightmare.

Human trafficking is a crisis that we can end in this generation, and so we should. Are you passionate about and committed to ending the trafficking crisis in this generation? If so, what inspires you to continue the fight?

#endtrafficking #humantrafficking #humantraffickingawareness #forwardTOGETHER

Healthy School Meals for All and Wisconsin Coalition for Gun Safety Meeting Recap

On Thursday, January 14th, The Wisconsin Healthy School Meals for All Coalition had its inaugural meeting. I connected with legislators, community partners, and activists who are passionate about making sure that no child goes hungry. We discussed where the Healthy School Meals for All Bill stands, and next steps to get this important legislation passed. I am proud of my work to make sure that no child goes hungry. Having access to healthy, nutritious meals helps kids achieve both in and out of school.  

I also attended 2022's first Wisconsin Coalition for Gun Safety and heard updates on legislation that has been introduced by coalition members as well as updates from community advocates. 

Office of Children’s Mental Health Annual Report

On Tuesday, January 11th, the Office of Children’s Mental Health (OCMH) held their annual briefing to go over the key findings of their 2021 annual report. The OCMH does crucial work in an effort to better understand the state of Wisconsin’s youth mental health. Their theme for this year, social connectedness, seeks to connect our youth with important tools to help them feel more connected and build meaningful relationships.

 You can find their 2021 report HERE.

DHS Listening Sessions on Opioid Fund Investments

The Department of Health Services is holding a series of listening sessions across the state on how we can best invest the funds Wisconsin will be receiving from opioid manufacturers and distributors to address Wisconsin's opioid epidemic. The listening sessions began on January 12th, with each date being assigned for specific geographic areas of the state. The 14th district is in the Southeastern region of Wisconsin, and interested residents can participate in a listening session on Wednesday, January 26th from 1:00–2:30 p.m.

These sessions are for people who live in Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Walworth, and Waukesha counties and members of the Forest County Potawatomi.

To register, please click HERE.

To see the full press release from DHS, please click HERE.

Amanda Gorman’s Reflection on the Passing of Sidney Poitier

I was inspired by Amanda Gorman’s words on the death of Sidney Poitier. His groundbreaking work will continue to inspire and open doors for generations to come.

#SidneyPoitier was a pioneer for artists of color everywhere. At 9 I read he imitated broadcasters since he was ridiculed for his accent. For the next 10 yrs I did the same to overcome my own speech impediment. I owe my voice to him. Never EVER doubt that representation matters. Rest in power titan.” - Amanda Gorman

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this MLK Day

This Monday, January 17th, we honor the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Although perhaps best known for his pioneering of nonviolent protest in an effort to desegregate the south, Dr. King supported the work of civil rights activists across the country– including right here in Wisconsin. 

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. King’s support of Vel Phillips and the NAACP’s fair housing campaign in Milwaukee.

Click HERE to learn about service opportunities in and around the 14th district happening this MLK Day. 

DHS Now Recommends Booster Shots for all Wisconsinites 12 and Older

DHS also recommends Pfizer and Moderna booster doses at 5 months and an additional primary dose for certain immunocompromised children 5 through 11 years of age

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that 12- to 15-year-olds should receive a single booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. DHS also supports CDC’s recommendations to shorten the booster interval from 6 months to 5 months for people who received the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5- to 11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second shot.

See full DHS Press Release HERE.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

As of January 12th, 8,799,183 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Wisconsin and 62.6% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose, with 58.6% fully vaccinated. Additionally, 1,733,763 additional or booster doses have been administered.

DHS has reported that new data indicates that unvaccinated individuals are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19, are 11 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and die from COVID-19 at 12 times higher rates than fully vaccinated individuals. 

If you have not yet been vaccinated, now is a critical time to get your vaccine. The vaccine protects individuals and communities from getting seriously ill or dying of COVID-19, including the variants. Find more information of COVID-19 variants HERE.

As of November 3rd, the Pfizer Biontech pediatric vaccine has been approved for children ages 5-11. This gives us another tool to protect kids and their teachers, caretakers, and peers from Covid-19. See DHS full press release HERE

The new omicron variant is cause for concern, but not panic. The best protection against this new variant, or any variant of COVID-19, is to get fully vaccinated and get a booster shot. All Wisconsinites 18 years or older who had their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago, or got their Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago, are eligible for a free booster shot. Getting your booster shot will provide the best protection from COVID-19, including this new variant.

Find additional information on booster shots HERE.

For more information about where you can get a vaccine, visit the DHS website HERE.

For more information about where to get vaccinated in Waukesha County, visit their website HERE.

En español, AQUI. ¿Tiene preguntas sobre la vacuna contra el COVID-19? Llame al 844-684-1064 (llamada gratuita)

For more information about where you can get a vaccine, visit the DHS website HERE.

For more information about where to get vaccinated in Waukesha County, visit their website HERE.

For more information about where to get vaccinated in the city of Wauwatosa, visit their website HERE.

For more information about where to get vaccinated in the city of Milwaukee, visit their website HERE. En español AQUI.

COVID-19 Update

14th District Counties

Milwaukee - 199,950 confirmed cases Fri, Jan 7, 2022 and 204,959 confirmed cases Fri, Jan 14, 2022 (increase of 5,009

Waukesha -  72,432 confirmed cases Fri, Jan 7, 2022 and 74,108 confirmed cases Fri, Jan 14, 2022 (increase of 1,675)


Forward together,

Rep. Robyn Vining


Contact Us: 

State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708 

PH: (608) 266-9180
TF: (888) 534-0014

Email: Rep.Vining@legis.wi.gov 
Web: www.vining.assembly.wi.gov 

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