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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   

Assembly & Senate in Session Next Week - Voting on New Maps

Next week on Thursday, November 11th at 10am the Assembly will be in session. We will be voting on legislative and congressional maps proposed by Republicans in the legislature (AB 624/SB 621 and AB 625/SB 622). Tune in at wiseye.org.

Since Republicans hold the majority in the legislature, they determine which map proposals the legislature will vote on. In this case, the legislature will be voting on the GOP proposed maps. A decade ago, the maps drawn by Republicans were gerrymandered (drawn in their favor to ensure they gain the majority of legislative seats) badly, and these proposed maps are even worse. 

Legislative Republicans, who are making it clear to the public once again that they will do anything to hold onto power, created a map that ignores fair redistricting principles and makes as many safe Republican seats as possible.

Watch a brief clip HERE of the Senate Committee's deliberation on these maps, where Senator Kelda Roys sets the GOP straight as they attempt to pass gerrymandered maps, rigging the state for GOP control for the next decade. Senator Roys calls out the bogus GOP arguments. 

There is still time to contact legislators about the GOP proposed maps. The Assembly Committee on State Affairs is voting in an executive session on Monday, November 8th at 2:30pm. Contact the committee members here:














The State Senate is voting on these proposals on Monday at 11am. Find contact information for your State Senator HERE

Mental Health is Health Care Bill Package

Yesterday I was proud to introduce the Mental Healthcare is Healthcare bill package with fellow Democratic members of the Assembly Committee on Mental Health- Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, Rep. Dave Considine, and Rep. Supreme Moore Omokunde. This package includes five bills to support mental healthcare access for K-12 students, UW students, and veterans. 

These Bills Include:

  • LRB-4178 invests an additional $500,000 for school mental health training. The Department of Public Instruction provides training to school districts so that teachers know how to address student mental health. The bill also includes social and emotional learning to the list of evidence-based strategies that DPI is required to teach schools. 
  •  LRB 4940 would change the existing mental health collaboration program to collaborate with enough mental health providers to provide mental health services to students. In order for schools to meet their students’ mental health needs, they need access to mental health providers. Many schools currently have a very high ratio of students per school counselor or student per school psychologist. In the 2019-2020 school year, Wisconsin’s student-to-school counselor ratio was 403-1, whereas the recommendation by the American School Counselor Association is a ratio of 250-1.
  • Under LRB-4175 school districts, independent charter schools, and private schools participating in one of the private school choice programs would be eligible for reimbursement of any expenditures made to employ, hire, or retain pupil services professionals, rather than only 50% of the increase in expenditures to employ, hire, or retain school social workers. In addition, under current law this funding can only be used for social worker related expenses. This bill changes the language so that expenses related to any pupil service professional can be reimbursed. 
  • LRB-4176 would provide an additional 7 FTE positions to the Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP). These additional positions would allow VORP to reach more veterans in underserved communities and also increase the services they provide to include suicide prevention services, among other assistance. Without funding additional staffing, we are missing out on an important opportunity to help our veterans through these difficult times. 
  • LRB-4173 would invest $10 million over the biennium to fund additional and improved mental and behavioral health services to the University of Wisconsin System. In 2017, the University of Wisconsin-Madison completed a Healthy Minds Study which determined that 21% of students who responded to the survey screened positively for depression overall, 16% screened positively for an anxiety disorder, 9% indicated they experienced suicide ideation in the last year, and 27% have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder during their lifetime. 

Thank you to Rep. Dianne Hesselbein, Rep. Sondy Pope, and Rep. Daniel Riemer for partnering with the Democratic members of the Assembly Committee on Mental Health on these bills. It’s time to invest in the health and wellbeing of Wisconsinites. Mental healthcare is healthcare, and we should treat it as such.

To see our full press release click HERE.

Contact your legislators to co-sponsor the Mental Healthcare is Healthcare legislative package!

Wisconsin Building Families Act

I am proud to co-sponsor the Wisconsin Building Families Act authored by Senator Kelda Roys and Representative Jodi Emerson.

The Wisconsin Building Families Act expands access and removes economic barriers to fertility treatment by requiring health plans to cover infertility treatment and fertility preservation services.

In Wisconsin over 172,000 people hoping to become pregnant experience infertility and 1 in 8 couples have trouble starting a family. Individuals are infertile for a host of reasons: injury, wounds sustained in combat, medical condition, or treatment for other conditions such as cancer, sickle cell anemia, Type 1 diabetes, some auto-immune diseases, and more. And LBGTQ+ families/couples face many layers of barriers including medical, legal, and limited access on how they can pursue a family. Men and women equally struggle with infertility and women of color are impacted at higher rates.

For too many families the financial burden is the greatest challenge they must overcome to fulfill their dreams of parenthood. These infertility services can cost more than $10,000 out-of-pocket, making them especially inaccessible for low-income individuals and couples. LRB-2180 would be a step in the right direction to ensure that Wisconsinites have access to the medical care they need to become parents. Contact your legislators to co-sponsor this bill!

Attorney General Josh Kaul Announces $115 Million Safer Wisconsin Legislative Package

On Monday, November 1st, AG Kaul introduced a comprehensive legislative package, Safer Wisconsin, which seeks to reduce crime and support stronger communities. He is calling on the state legislature to use a portion of this year’s surplus funds to invest in gun violence prevention efforts, community policing and prosecution, violence prevention programs, victim services, re-entry programs that reduce recidivism, addressing the opioid epidemic in our state, holding sex offenders accountable and more.

This package gives money back to programs that seek to strengthen our communities instead of starving them for resources. In addition, due to federal maintenance of effort requirements included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passage of this proposal would also result in an investment of $91,320,000 in new funding for education.

See Attorney General Kaul’s full press release HERE.

Wisconsin to Offer Covid-19 Vaccines For Kids Ages 5-11

Attention all parents, Wisconsin is set to offer FREE COVID-19 vaccinations to kids ages 5-11!

The pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been given official approval by the FDA, CIAP, and now endorsed by the CDC! Studies have shown that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for this age group. The final step is for the CDC to release clinical guidance so that vaccinators can review and complete trainings to ensure they’re ready to give doses of the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. DHS is working closely with local and tribal health clinics to get that final information out as soon as it’s available.

Vaccine appointments can be scheduled FOR FREE using a variety of options, including with your child’s health care provider, at community-based vaccination clinics, local and tribal health departments, or pharmacies. Please help let everyone you know that the COVID-19 vaccine is FREE, whether or not a person has health insurance. 

For more information see the full DHS press release HERE, visit  vaccines.gov, or call 211.  

Vel Phillips Statue at the State Capitol

The State Capitol and Executive Residence Board (SCERB) has approved a Vel Phillips statue to be added to the Capitol grounds late next year! This is an exciting announcement that many, including State Representative Shelia Stubbs (D-77, pictured), have worked hard to achieve. 

Born in Milwaukee in 1924, after receiving her bachelors and law degrees, Vel Phillips served as the first Black member of the Milwaukee Common Council at age 32. She championed fair housing reform alongside the Milwaukee NAACP Youth Council. She would go on to be appointed to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court as Wisconsin’s first Black Judge. Making history again, Vel Phillips was the first Black Wisconsinite to be elected as Secretary of State. She will continue to inspire generations to come and this statue is just one way we can honor her legacy!

Open Enrollment November 1st through January 15th

Wisconsin residents are eligible to sign up for health coverage during Open Enrollment from November 1, 2021 through January 15, 2022. 

During this limited time, all Wisconsinites are eligible to enroll in one of the health plans available on the federal marketplace. Those who already have insurance through the marketplace can also renew, change, or update their plans during this period.  

In 2020, the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) and Governor Tony Evers launched WisCovered.com as an accessible resource for consumers. By visiting WisCovered.com or calling 2-1-1, people can get connected with free, expert help. The online services are available in English, Spanish, and Hmong. 2-1-1 operators are able to offer help in over 180 languages.  

​Many Wisconsinites will benefit from even lower rates and more insurance options in 2021. Rates on the individual market will be 0.3 percent lower in 2022 on average than rates in 2021. An interactive map of health insurers available by county can be found here

Other stakeholders who would like to share information about Open Enrollment are encouraged to visit OCI's open enrollment digital toolkit, which features draft social media posts and graphics, with many materials available in Spanish and Hmong as well as English.  

Información sobre la inscripción abierta EN ESPAÑOL. 

Happy Diwali!

Yesterday, November 4th, was Diwali, a 1-to- 5-day festival observed by millions of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains around the world. The holiday symbolizes the internal triumphs of good over evil with the lighting of the Diya (oil lamp) with family and friends. Wishing all those who celebrate a Diwali that brings happiness and joy to you and your families!

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. This month, we celebrate the rich cultures, histories, and resilience of Indigenous people across the country and here in Wisconsin. This month everyone can take some time to learn about Native American culture and history in our state. Wauwatosa, for example, occupies ancestral Potawatomi lands. Wisconsin and Michigan are both home to eleven federally recognized tribes, the most of any state east of the Mississippi river. It is crucial to recognize that this land was occupied and cared for long before Wisconsin became a state.

To learn more about Indigenous groups in Wisconsin click HERE or HERE.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

As of November 5th, 6,530,794 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Wisconsin and 58.1% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose, with 55.1% fully vaccinated. 

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. The Delta variant spreads more easily and can cause more severe illness. Find more information of COVID-19 variants 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 -  138,973 confirmed cases (increase of 327*)
Waukesha - 56,698 confirmed cases (increase of 178*)

*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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