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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   

Redistricting Update - SCOWIS Decision

On Tuesday, November 30th, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an order stating that they will go through their redistricting process using the principle of “least change.” This means that the basis for the legislative and congressional maps drawn by the Wisconsin State Supreme Court will be as close to the current gerrymandered maps that Republicans drew for our state 10 years ago as possible.

A “least change” approach for new district maps is illegitimate, has no basis in law, and is nowhere to be found in redistricting criteria. By starting with current maps, the conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court won’t simply be blessing a partisan gerrymander, they will be actively engaging in partisan gerrymandering. 

For ten years, Wisconsin has lived with these gerrymandered maps. Now, conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court are joining Republicans to double down on an egregious partisan gerrymander. 

Tuesday’s SCOWIS order doesn’t change the truth that Wisconsinites want fair maps so they can hold their elected officials accountable. I will continue to push for fair maps for a fair Wisconsin, because people should get to choose their elected officials, not the other way around.

Diverse Business Assistance Grant Program Applications Open

Applications now open until January 14th, 2022 for grant programs to support diverse businesses!

The $37.5 million Diverse Business Assistance Grant Program will provide support to ethnic and diverse chambers of commerce and other collaboratives that provide technical assistance and services to businesses that have historically been denied access to capital and are owned by members of communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Diverse Business Investment Grant Program will provide an additional $37.5 million to community development financial institutions (CDFIs), for grants to small and micro-businesses that are owned by members of communities that were historically denied access to capital and those that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Both programs will be administered by the Wisconsin DOA, with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.The competitive grant applications will remain open through January 14, 2022.

Grant program criteria, upcoming informational webinar, and Q&A submissions are available on the program websites:

Diverse Business Assistance Grant Program -  https://doa.wi.gov/pages/DiverseBusinessAssistance.aspx   

Diverse Business Investment Grant Program -  https://doa.wi.gov/pages/DiverseBusinessInvestment.aspx

More information here: https://content.govdelivery.com/.../WIGOV/bulletins/2fe5be7

Governor Evers Announces $110 Million in Funding for K-12 Education

Governor Tony Evers announced on Thursday a $110 million investment in Wisconsin kids and schools. Gov. Evers is directing the funding, available through federal coronavirus relief funds, to deliver on the promise he made when he signed the 2021-2023 biennial budget earlier this year to invest more than $100 million in new, additional funding into Wisconsin's schools. 

The governor directed the new funding to help address Legislative Republicans' failure to meaningfully invest in education during the budget process and to support kids and schools as they continue to deal with the effects of and recover from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

One reason I voted against the budget was because I was extremely concerned by the lack of school funding - I am glad to see Governor Evers pushing more money for schools. 

The $110 million investment announced yesterday will provide new funding for schools distributed on a per-pupil basis for an additional $133.72 in per pupil aid. Every Wisconsin school district will receive additional aid under this funding. A full list of investments by school district is available here.

Read the full announcement HERE.

Below is a history of new school funding in the Wisconsin state budget over the years.

First Lady Kathy Evers and Office of Children’s Mental Health Issue Youth Action Recommendations

Youth need trustworthy, supportive adults and mental health education. These are two Recommendations for Action from the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health (OCMH). They are among the recommendations Wisconsin youth identified to address the concerning and increasing rates of anxiety, depression, and lack of belonging they were experiencing even before the pandemic led many organizations to declare a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. 

The OCMH Resiliency Impact Team of mental health professionals, people with lived experience, advocates, and young people developed the guidance after a series of OCMH listening sessions, during which youth voiced their ideas to strengthen mental health supports in our state.

The report offers six insights and 11 recommendations for action. The recommendations fall into three categories: 1) organizational/culture, 2) youth voice, and 3) mental health education. By releasing the Recommendations for Action, OCMH hopes to challenge organizations and individuals to consider how best to incorporate them into policy, practice, and culture.

For information about Wisconsin children’s mental health, visit the OCMH website. You can also follow @OCMHWI on Facebook and @WIKidsMH on Twitter.

Milwaukee County ARPA Task Force

MILWAUKEE COUNTY: Share your thoughts on spending federal ARPA funds!

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provided $183.6 million in federal funding directly to Milwaukee County. The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors established the ARPA Task Force with the goal of collecting public input and making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on how to allocate the funding. 

While Milwaukee County has some discretion over how to spend these funds, the U.S. Department of the Treasury provided guidance that the ARPA funds may only be used to: 

  • Support public health expenditures 
  • Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency 
  • Support hardest-hit communities and families
  • Replace lost public sector revenue 
  • Provide premium pay for essential workers 
  • Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure 

The public is encouraged to engage with the county’s ARPA Task Force:

Booster Shots for All!

As of Friday, November 19th, Wisconsin’s DHS announced their support of the CDC’s recommendation that anyone 18 and older receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after having received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) or Moderna vaccine or two months after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

All adults are now eligible to receive booster doses, and booster doses are strongly recommended for everyone 50 and older, who are at the greatest risk for severe disease.

The CDC’s recommendations now also allow for mix-and-match dosing for booster doses. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster.

These vaccines are FREE, you do not need health insurance, and are available across the state! Visit vaccines.gov, call 211, or your local healthcare provider to schedule your booster dose. Get your booster dose today!

More information here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/news/releases/111921a.htm

Newsletter Update

Sunset from the Capitol office. We are working on our printed newsletter which should hit mailboxes this winter!

Support Small Businesses this Holiday Season

Supporting small businesses is a way of life for our family— we love cutting down our Christmas tree at a small family farm year after year, eating in locally owned farm-to-table food trucks/restaurants and bakeries and coffee shops and breweries, buying local groceries whenever possible, local eyeglass shops, creative arts professionals, frame shops, book sellers, running shoe shops, physical therapists, gyms, personal trainers, hairstylists, florists, photographers, etc!

And—To all my fellow small business owners (& your families!) who have endured the challenges of the pandemic, now heading into the holiday season, I’m sending you a GIANT HUG and so much love!

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy 6th night of Hanukkah to all who celebrate!

Capitol Holiday Tree

A view of the tree in the Capitol as I left on Tuesday night. The building was mostly empty and all was quiet as I left. The tree is decorated with ornaments from Wisconsinites around the state, and the tree lighting took place today.

If you’re visiting the Capitol this holiday season, please contact the office so we can say hello when you’re there!

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

As of December 3rd, 7,763,273 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Wisconsin and 59.1% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose, with 56.2% 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 -  148,127 confirmed cases (increase of 491*)
Waukesha - 62,131 confirmed cases (increase of 246*)

*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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