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Forward Fridays


Welcome to my latest e-update! Here are highlights from the past week as your State Representative. 

As always, feel free to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns you have.

Forward together!      

This Week


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This week, I introduced a bill as part of the "Pregnancy Protection Package" with my colleagues. The bill package includes:

1.) Health care coverage for maternity & newborn care as an essential health benefit (I authored this bill). 

A year ago the Assembly Health Committee heard the first bill of the session, a bill that was supposedly protecting preexisting conditions in the case that ACA (Obamacare) went away. However, that bill fell short, and as-promised I am back to introduce a piece of where that bill fell short: making sure that, in the absence of ACA, that individual and small group health insurance plans must cover pregnancy.

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 health care 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 health care coverage, or the potential of losing health coverage, could make this crucial health care 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.

2.) A resolution reaffirming the constitutional rights of pregnant women (Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa authored this resolution, I am a co-author)

3.) The right to legal counsel for pregnant women (Rep. Chris Taylor authored this bill) 

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Good news! Our Epi Access and Go Big for Small Business bills are bipartisan! Thank you to my colleagues across the aisle for signing on to these initiatives — we are grateful for your support! 

Vining handshake.pngGovernor Evers announced earlier this month his plan  that would use the state surplus to make critical investments in school districts across the state while providing $130 million in property tax relief, including around $10 million for school districts (Elmbrook, Wauwatosa, Milwaukee) in the 14th Assembly District.

74 constituents have contacted my office in favor of this proposal, with zero opposed. I stand with the Governor to both fund education, and create property tax relief. What’s best for our kids is best for our state! 

Evers Effect 2.pngEven when bipartisan legislation does not move forward, we still have opportunities to work together on initiatives that help our state move forward. Since session has likely ended and there will no longer be votes on bills, I am grateful to move forward on our projects in partnership with Governor Evers and the state agencies.

For our small business portal initiative "Go Big for Small Business", we have bipartisan support, but the bill has not moved through the committee process. With the partnership of Gov. Evers, part of "The Evers Effect", we have the opportunity to continue this project with his administration. Today I met with staff from DOA to discuss the next steps on this project. 

Session Days

In the State Assembly this week, we had our last session days of the year. On Tuesday, we had the State of the Tribes Address, voted on clean water bills, and supported Holocaust education. 

In Thursday's session, which ended early this morning (after 1am), we voted on over 120 bills and resolutions over the course of 15 hours. This will likely be the last voting day of the year for the Assembly. Here is a recap of the session days this week: 

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Session on Tuesday began with the annual State of the Tribes Address. The speaker this year was Potawatomi Nation Chairman Ned Daniels. Chairman Daniels spoke of the partnership between the state and the eleven sovereign tribal nations in Wisconsin, and how we can move forward together to combat the opioid epidemic, human trafficking, climate change, among other issues that face the tribal communities and the rest of the state. I thank Chairman Daniels for honoring us with his words. 

Watch the full State of the Tribes Address here

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During session on Tuesday, we capped off the "Year of Clean Drinking Water" by passing 10 bipartisan clean water bills! How refreshing is that news?

Rep Shankland Clean Water 2-18-2020.jpgRepresentative Katrina Shankland spoke during session on Tuesday on the bipartisan clean water bills from the Water Quality Task Force. Rep. Shankland has been a leader for years on this issue, and I appreciate her work. With her hard work, and the declaration from Governor Evers that 2019 was the “year of clean drinking water”, this task force was created and legislation was moved forward. Rep Subeck Quote.png

Also during session, the State Assembly has passed the Holocaust Education bill, and I want to highlight my colleague Representative Lisa Subeck and her hard work and advocacy for this bill. The bill is likely up for a vote in the Senate in March. 


We spent over 15 hours on the Assembly floor yesterday and into this morning. This did not have to be the last day we vote of the session. By ending session early, we are losing the opportunity to pass important legislation including but not limited to:

  • Fair Maps bill (AB 303
  • Safe Harbor bill for child victims of sex trafficking (AB 41
  • Closing the Dark Store Loophole (AB 146
  • Sexual assault kit bills (AB 214 & AB 358)
  • Protections against domestic violence (AB 334
  • Expungement for certain criminal records (AB 33)
  • Ending shackling of pregnant women (AB 398)
  • Restoring funding for mental health & special ed programs in schools & providing property tax relief (Gov. special session bills) 

I will continue to advocate for these important pieces of legislation this year and onward. I want to know your thoughts- what do you think we should have passed this year? 

Constituent & Advocate Meetings

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Moms Demand Action Advocacy Day was on Wednesday at the Capitol, and I was happy to welcome students from Wauwatosa, and Wauwatosa-Brookfield-MKE moms from my district to the Democratic caucus to meet my colleagues. Their ask is for a hearing for a bill related to domestic violence prevention.

This week, my staff and I also met with constituents and groups from American Council of Engineering Companies, Lutheran Home and Harwood Place, and IndependenceFirst. 

Thank you all for coming to the Capitol to advocate for important issues!

 Looking Forward

The Next Town Hall

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Because February was suddenly determined to be the early end to the 2019-2020 session, we have experienced a significant uptick in committee hearings and floor session dates. This was required us to reschedule the February town hall.

Thank you for your understanding, and we will touch base in March with further information. 

In-District Office Hours 

We look forward to hosting more in-district office hours with constituents! Let us know if you want to schedule an appointment for our next office hours- date and location TBD. 


Feel free to email or call my office with any questions or concerns, or meet with me at one of my in-district office hours or listening sessions. 

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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