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Weekly E-Update

Dear Neighbor,

As the new legislative session begins on Monday, January 4th, my office will resume sending general e-updates regarding legislative activities in addition to information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These updates will be sent every Friday ("Forward Fridays"), and more frequently if necessary. 

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

My greatest concerns right now are your lives and livelihoods. We are working hard to keep you and your loved ones safe, and to fight for our small businesses in an unprecedented crisis.

Please contact my office with any questions or concerns.

In solidarity,

Robyn Vining    

Oath of Office

A screenshot from our virtual oath of office taken Monday. I’ve now sworn this oath three times—twice as an incoming freshman legislator, as it is traditional for freshmen legislators to have an individual ceremony in addition to the full Assembly taking the oath together, and again Monday for my second term that begins Monday, January 4th. The oath has taken my breath away every single time. And this photograph shows how I felt watching our freshmen class of Democrats being sworn in individually— such powerful moments.

Watch our virtual oath of office HERE

I wish you each safety, peace, joy, and rest this week as the holidays continue.

COVID-19 Legislative Recap

As you read through various perspectives on year-end COVID-19 relief, here is a quick end of year recap of our 2020 legislative response to COVID-19:

COVID-19 Relief bill - April
In April, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed a COVID-19 bill with provisions including lifting the one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance in Wisconsin, requires health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing, and bars insurers from discriminating against people who have or have had the virus. This bill was a first step in providing assistance to Wisconsinites during the pandemic, but there was still a lot of work to be done.
Democratic Amendments to COVID-19 Relief bill - April
The Democratic caucus in the Assembly and Senate advocated for additional amendments to the bill, which were ultimately rejected. These amendments included childcare grants, small business grants and low-interest loans, funding for the UW system, tourism marketing programs, and adjustments and funding related to the elections in 2020.
Healthcare Heroes Act - June
In June, I introduced the Healthcare Heroes Act, a bill to provide assistance to frontline healthcare workers through hazard pay, paid sick leave, health insurance coverage, and COVID-19 testing and treatment coverage, and accept Medicaid Expansion. This bill has not been brought up for consideration by the Republican-led legislature.
Unemployment Insurance Bill Package - July
In July, the Democratic caucus introduced a bill package to provide changes to the unemployment system in Wisconsin, in order to make it easier for Wisconsinites to receive benefits and remove unnecessary barriers. These bills have not been brought up for consideration by the Republican-led legislature.
Governor Evers COVID-19 bill proposal - November
In November, Governor Evers put forth a COVID-19 relief bill package as the legislature had not passed another bill since April. This proposal includes much needed resources related to COVID-19 mitigation such as testing, contact tracing, and vaccine distribution. It also includes additional small business grants through the “We’re All In” program. The proposal would additionally extend many provisions that were passed in Act 185, the COVID-19 relief bill from April. Republican legislative leadership has rejected this bill package, and negotiations are underway between them and Governor Evers on a compromise bill. Governor Evers has urged Republican legislative leadership to pass another bill before the end of the year

Unemployment Update

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announced today the unemployment claims backlog has been cleared, and interim Secretary Amy Pechacek has been appointed the Secretary-designee of the department by Governor Evers.

The remaining claims are within timely adjudication resolution period, and unemployment claims older than 21 days have been resolved or assigned. 

Read the full announcement HERE.

DHS Vaccination Data

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released two data visualizations for COVID-19 vaccines on the COVID-19 Vaccine Data webpage. The first is a table summarizing total allocation, shipment, and administration numbers. The second displays daily vaccinations as reported in the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR). This data is planned to be updated weekly on Tuesdays at 2PM.

These visualizations allow Wisconsinites to broadly view the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Program as it moves through Phase 1A of the rollout and beyond. DHS plans to release additional data visualizations as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available and different groups of people become eligible for vaccination.

Visit the website HERE for more information. 

Assembly Democrats Seek Virtual Options for Legislative Activities During Pandemic Due to Workplace Safety Concerns

Yesterday, the Assembly Democratic Caucus sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos regarding workplace safety concerns related to convening the legislature in person during the pandemic. 

It is the position of the Assembly Democratic Caucus that virtual options should continue to be available for members, staff, and support agencies in the new legislative session. The risk of transmission of COVID-19 is unnecessarily high in the Capitol, where many people are not following public health recommendations. Requiring legislators to meet in-person even though virtual options are available threatens the legislators, staff, and individuals working in-person, as well as the communities to which folks return. It is my hope that between now and Monday the Republican leadership will decide to both mandate masks be worn (correctly) by all staff and legislators when in the Capitol building, as well as allow for remote work to protect our most vulnerable members and staff. 

Read the full letter HERE.    

Happy New Year

I wish you each safety, peace, joy, and rest this week as the holidays continue and we head into the new year. 

COVID-19 Update

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

Statewide (data is from 12/29)

474,537 confirmed cases (increase of 2,384)

X% of total tests are positive, by person (for 12/29)

21,081 hospitalizations (4.4% of cases- increase of 170)

440,857 recovered cases (92.9% of all cases)

2,340,164 negative test results (increase of 3,633)

4,783 devastating deaths (increase of 72)

0 patients at Alternate Care Facility at State Fair Park

14th District Counties

Milwaukee - 83,676 confirmed cases
Waukesha - 33,808 confirmed cases

*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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