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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   

BREAKING NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots Now Authorized by FDA for all Adults

As of today, all individuals ages 18 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. The booster shot is free and does not require insurance. 

More information on the announcement from the FDA HERE

Pregnancy Protection Act

Every woman in Wisconsin deserves affordable, accessible maternal healthcare. I am proud to be introducing this vital piece of legislation alongside Sen. Kelda Roys (pictured, D-Madison), Rep. Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison), and Sen. Johnson (D-Milwaukee).  

We know we have significant work to do to improve maternal healthcare in Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin, maternal mortality rates are five times higher for Black women, compared to 2-3 times higher nationally. Two-thirds of maternal deaths occur 12 months after the baby is born. The United States is the only developed country where the maternal mortality rate has increased, doubling over the past two decades. In fact, it is considered more dangerous today for a woman in her 30’s to have a baby than it was for her mother. We are trending in the wrong direction, and we need to turn it around.

Maternity care coverage benefits both women and children in improving health outcomes. Prenatal and postnatal healthcare can identify and treat complications of pregnancy such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, ectopic pregnancies, postpartum depression, infection, and other potentially life-threatening complications, for mother and child. Lack of healthcare coverage, or the potential of losing health coverage, could make this crucial healthcare inaccessible or unaffordable. 

This bill puts into state law that maternity and newborn care are essential health benefits, and individual and small group health insurance plans must cover them.

Contact your legislators today and ask them to co-sponsor this bill! 

See my full press release HERE.

Forward on Climate Rollout

Forward on Climate! 

On Monday, State Representative Greta Neubauer, myself, and my Democratic colleagues in the legislature introduced Forward on Climate, a package of twenty-two bills designed to create good, family-supporting jobs, reduce inequality, and fight climate change through Wisconsin-centered policy. These bills were designed with input from hundreds of people across Wisconsin through the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change.

The bill I am the author of, LRB-3393, would require local governments to include considerations for the impacts of climate change when they prepare comprehensive plans, community health plans, or disaster mitigation plans. The bill also provides funding and state staffing to support this additional work.

Climate change is increasingly impacting communities in every corner of Wisconsin, from additional wear on local roads, to increasingly common severe weather events, to changes to our growing seasons. These impacts fall hardest on Wisconsin’s communities of color, rural communities, and low income families. By empowering local governments to account for the effects of climate change in local planning, we can help communities be more resilient and prepared.

Contact your legislators to co-sponsor LRB-3393 and the other Forward on Climate Bills!

Forward On Climate Virtual Rally 

On Tuesday night, State Representative Greta Neubauer led a virtual rally to engage with Wisconsinites across the states on this exciting new bill package! We got to hear from three members of the Governor’s Taskforce on Climate Change: Dylan Jennings, Director of Ba​d River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians; Bill Hogseth, Watershed and Organizing Coordinator for the Wisconsin Farmers Union; and Stephanie Salgado, Leader of the Wisconsin Student Climate Action Coalition. Several of my democratic colleagues shared what they are most excited for in this bill package! Lastly, Lieutenant Governor Barnes spoke as the chairperson of the Governor’s Taskforce on Climate Change sharing how the group centered Climate Justice throughout their work and final recommendations. A couple of highlights of the rally included:

  • Stephanie Salgado reminded all participants that many of the founding organizers of climate justice-related movements are BIPOC individuals who find themselves often in situations which have been and will continue to be disproportionately negatively impacted by climate change. 
  • Sen. Jeff Smith shared that he’s most excited for bills relating to Carbon Sequestration, Investing $1.8 million into County Conservation Staff; Climate Change Local Planning 
  • Rep. Supreme Moore Omokunde shared that he’s proud to be co-sponsoring a bill to help fund big infrastructure change to make our cities, like Milwaukee, more green and sustainable.
  • Rep. Francesca Hong highlighted the creation of the Civilian Climate Corps which would provide employment training, professional development, and career path training.
  • Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes introduced the taskforce’s recommendations:
    • Over 1000 people participated in listening sessions
    • People in 69 out of 72 counties participated 
      • Work resulted in 55 different recommendations across 9 sectors

Mental Healthcare IS Healthcare Update

Reps. Brostoff, Considine, and Moore Omokunde and I want to thank the following colleagues for signing on to bills in our Mental Healthcare is Healthcare legislative package. Circulation ended on Tuesday, November 16th. 

Representatives Anderson, Andraca, Baldeh, Billings, Bowen, Cabrera, Conley, Doyle, Emerson, Hebl, Hesselbein, Hong, B. Meyers, Milroy, Neubauer, Ohnstad, Shankland, Shelton, Sinicki, Snodgrass, Spreitzer, Stubbs, Subeck, and Vruwink.

And: Senators Agard, Erpenbach, Johnson, Larson, Ringhand, Roys, and Smith. Thank you!

On Wednesday morning, the bipartisan, bicameral Wisconsin Legislative Children’s Caucus met virtually for a presentation featuring the Wisconsin School Counselor Association and the WI Office of Children’s Mental Health on children’s mental health, and the impact of COVID-19 in schools and the importance of social connections.

Importantly, both members from the Wisconsin School Counselor Association and the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health urged the need for consistent funding and investments into children’s mental health, especially through the schools.

A representative from the Wisconsin School Counselor Association even highlighted the need to expand eligible expenditure reimbursements from school mental health and pupil wellness aid to include all school mental health professionals (school counselor, school psychologist, school nurse, or school social worker), not just social workers.

This proposal is one of the bills (LRB-4175) we introduced as part of the Mental Healthcare is Healthcare package. This is why it is so important for us to pass these bills -- contact your legislators to sign on today!

Healthy School Meals for All

I am proud to be an original co-author of the Healthy School Meals for All bill. No child should go hungry - period. Having access to healthy, nutritious meals helps kids achieve both in and out of school. My colleague Rep. Kristina Shelton introduced this bill yesterday saying, “Healthy meals are as vital to kids’ education as textbooks and transportation.” She’s right! Serving meals to all kids is a gamechanger for students, families, schools and communities. 

According to Feeding America, 1 in 7 children in Wisconsin face child hunger. Having access to nutritious, constant sources of food can change the course of a student’s day. This bill not only allows students to get the nutrition they need to concentrate in class, but it creates more jobs for farmers and school cafeteria workers—two groups heavily affected by the pandemic. Take action at https://www.healthyschoolmealsforallwi.org/.    Let’s support local farmers and get our students the meals they deserve!

Call your legislators today and ask them to co-sponsor Healthy School Meals for All!

Governor Vetoes GOP Maps

It’s official: Governor Evers has vetoed the GOP-gerrymandered maps! Thank you, Governor Evers! 

Emergency Funds Available to Domestic Violence Survivors

The strain brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the aligned economic challenge have increased the risks and severity of abuse many domestic violence survivors are experiencing. To support families whose safety is at risk, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) has launched the Living Independently Through Financial Empowerment (LIFE) program using emergency funding allocated to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“The ongoing pandemic has underscored that not everyone is safer at home,” said DCF Secretary Emilie Amundson. “While there are many barriers to seeking safety, we know that financial security is one of the main barriers. By providing this critical funding, we hope to help survivors become financially empowered to live independent, violence-free lives.”

Survivors’ safety often depends on basic needs being met, such as housing and food. The LIFE program will support this safety by providing temporary financial assistance totaling $3,500 over a three-month period ($1,500 in month one and $1,000 in months two and three). To be eligible for direct financial assistance, applicants must:

  1. Be experiencing domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence, or be fleeing a domestic violence situation;
  2. Be a parent of a child under 18 -OR- be pregnant;
  3. Be 18 years of age or older;
  4. Be a U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen;
  5. Be a resident of Wisconsin (unless the applicant is a migrant worker); and
  6. Currently receiving another public benefit or received a public benefit at some point in the prior 12 calendar months -OR- has income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Applicants can apply via phone or in person at a Wisconsin Works (W-2) agency. For the applicant’s safety, all applicant and case information will be kept strictly confidential.

Other assistance is available to help domestic violence survivors regardless of LIFE program eligibility. To find the nearest domestic abuse help line or agency, visit End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin’s Get Help Map.

Advocates can help the department spread awareness of this critical program by downloading and sharing social media content and graphics from DCF’s Public Awareness Tool Kit.

To learn more about domestic violence, visit DCF’s website or follow @WisDCF on Twitter and Facebook.

DHS Tips for Staying Healthy this Thanksgiving

Celebrating the holiday season and its traditions is important to Wisconsin families, and we can all celebrate safely this year if we remember to take a few simple steps. 

Cases of COVID-19 are very high across Wisconsin. Wisconsin hospitals are also nearing capacity, due in part to increasing numbers of people with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. The overwhelming majority of people in hospitals with COVID-19 have not been fully vaccinated.

Children are at particular risk, as they represent the highest number of new confirmed cases compared to other age groups. Although children are less likely than adults to become seriously ill from COVID-19, they can spread the disease to others in their households.

If you plan to gather for the holidays, follow these recommendations to help minimize your risk for getting or spreading COVID-19 detailed HERE.

National Recycling Day

November 15th was National Recycling Day! In the words of President Biden, “By reducing, reusing, and recycling, we can decrease waste and the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis while protecting our communities and our environment.  On America Recycles Day, we celebrate efforts across the country to manage our resources responsibly and creatively, and we recommit ourselves to building a brighter and more sustainable future for all people.”

Check out these resources on how to recycle most effectively to make a positive impact in your community and on our planet! 

See President Biden’s Full Press Release HERE.

Learn more about the impact of Recycling in Wisconsin HERE.

Check out what can and cannot be recycled in your community HERE.

Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship week ends today! Apprenticeships can provide job and career opportunities to folks across our state. 

See the National Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Week information HERE.

No E-update Next Week

There will be no e-update next week - enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend! 

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

As of November 19th, 7,438,721 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Wisconsin and 58.6% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose, with 55.6% fully vaccinated. 

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 15 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 last week’s DHS press release 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 Case Update

For daily updated information on COVID-19 in Wisconsin, visit the DHS website HERE.

14th District Counties

Milwaukee -  143,188 confirmed cases (increase of 354*)
Waukesha - 59,422 confirmed cases (increase of 292*)

*Changes over day prior


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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