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COVID-19 Update

Dear Neighbor,

In order to support your families being able to take a deep breath, turn away from constant news updates, and create a new temporary normal, my office will continue sending a daily COVID-19 update and will post online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It is my hope that one reliable update each day will allow you to take a deep breath, oversee all that is happening in your own life and home, and have a reliable source of news you can count on to be up to date and accurate. As always, previous updates are on our website and linked beneath the graphic below. 

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. 

In solidarity,

Rep. Robyn Vining 

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Past email updates can be found HERE

Legislature Must Take Action in Response to COVID-19 
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This week, I signed on to a letter calling on Speaker Vos and Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Republican leadership in the Assembly and Senate, to call the legislature into session to address the challenges facing Wisconsinites due to the COVID-19 crisis. The letter describes proposals that would give relief to Wisconsin families and businesses during these challenging times, including provisions on health care, unemployment insurance, small businesses, housing and commercial real estate, and education. The letter also addresses both the April 7th election, and all subsequent 2020 elections.

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Governor Evers and leadership from the Republican and Democratic caucuses have been in daily conversation about the state's response to COVID-19. It is important we take bipartisan legislative action to address this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. Let's move forward together. 

Read my full statement HERE.  

April 7th Election Update 

U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled today to extend the deadline to request an absentee ballot in Wisconsin to TOMORROW, Friday, April 3rd at 5pm. 

Additionally, Judge Conley ruled that absentee ballots will be counted if submitted to local clerks by 4pm on April 13th. 

Judge Conley also lifted the witness requirement for absentee ballot applications, stating that voters can provide a written affirmation that they could not safely obtain a witness signature due to COVID-19 fears.

To request an absentee ballot, visit myvote.wi.gov.

Federal CARES Act Summary

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) prepared a summary of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed and signed into law last week.

This summary addresses the provisions of state funding that Wisconsin is set to receive under the legislation. Read the memo HERE  

Department of Workforce Development 

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) urges Wisconsinites to file their unemployment insurance applications online.

Last week, the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Division of DWD received more than 1.5 million calls, an increase of 6,208% over last year's busiest weekly call volume. Last Thursday alone, UI received 400,000 calls between 6 and 10 a.m., at times receiving 160 calls per second. The unprecedented number of calls overloaded the system, as it was not built to handle this type of call volume. They have since increased their phone capacity to allow 690 simultaneous calls.

The current staff are working overtime and are working to bring on additional staff to address the load. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, their UI call center consisted of 57 employees. The UI Division has since reassigned another 35 its employees to the call center and has reached out to former employees to see if any are interested in helping. This week, they trained another 40 staff from the Division of Employment and Training to answer phones, help with general inquiries, and take initial and weekly claims from people unable to use the internet. They are in the process of identifying an additional 80 staff from DWD and other state agencies to answer calls, respond to claimant emails, and process paperwork and system rejects. They also put out a recruitment to hire 36 claim specialists and have already received over 800 applications.

For more information, visit the DWD website HERE

Department of Safety & Professional Services

Gov. Evers and DSPS are working to promote public information about how to best use PPE. On April 1st, the Department of Safety and Professional Services released training modules for police, wastewater works, and other public sector employees who do not routinely use PPE in their work.

The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis is driving more first-responders and other employees maintaining critical infrastructure to use personal protective equipment at work on a regular basis. Their counterparts in health care can attest that proper usage of PPE is critical for it to confer benefit and keep wearers safe from infection. If someone uses PPE incorrectly, they put themselves at greater risk of catching COVID-19, and they have wasted a valuable resource.

The three modules include a general education course on N95 respirator use along with one tailored to law enforcement and another for water treatment workers. This information is helpful to ensure that folks are using PPE effectively and ensuring theirs and others’ safety.

Federal Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities.

Small businesses and sole proprietors can apply April 3, 2020, and independent contractors and the self employed can apply April 10, 2020.

For more information, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website HERE and HERE.

Alzheimer's Association Resources 

The Wisconsin Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association has sent a list of resources currently available from their organization for Wisconsinites, which can be found HERE

While the Alzheimer’s Association is following the Governor"s Executive Order, their staff and volunteers are working remotely to support residents in Wisconsin. Aside from in-person meetings, virtually all Alzheimer’s Association programs and services are available to all Wisconsin families. 

Their 24/7 Helpline is staffed by trained professionals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and it can be reached at: 800.272.3900.  


On a personal note, I want to assure you we are doing everything we can with the information and power that we have while working through an unprecedented pandemic that has facts and advice changing seemingly constantly. I will continue monitoring this crisis, and I will not forget my call to service to the people of the 14th district. Part of my job is disseminating information, and we will keep you posted as news happens. And, we will also work to generate ideas for how to best respond. I understand this is both a challenging time, and for many-- a scary time. Please check on your neighbors, reach out to the elderly, if you need help and receive an offer for help, take confidence in accepting that help. Together, as one Wisconsin, we will walk through this moment, and may we remember one another, reach out, ask for help, offer help, and be the community to one another we were made to be. Now is the time to draw together as one Wisconsin.

My office is here. Please reach out with any questions. We will be at work. And once again, the safety and security of my constituents is my number one priority. Please rest at night knowing that. 

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1,730 confirmed cases

461 hospitalizations (27% of cases)

20,317 negative test results

31 devastating deaths

14th District Counties

Milwaukee - 869 confirmed cases
Waukesha -  120 confirmed cases

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

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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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