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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.

In solidarity,

Robyn Vining    

Special Session on BadgerCare Expansion

This week Governor Tony Evers announced a special session for BadgerCare expansion and to invest the $1 billion in cost savings from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into economic recovery and development projects across Wisconsin. Governor Evers signed Executive Order #116 calling a special session of the Wisconsin State Legislature to vote on LRB-3568 on Tuesday, May 25th. Republican leadership has said they do not plan to honor the call for a special session, so we are watching closely to see what will transpire on Tuesday.

Read my full statement on this subject HERE

DWD - Unemployment Work Search Requirement Reinstated

On May 19th, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) voted on party lines to reinstate the work search requirement for individuals receiving some form of unemployment insurance. The work search requirement will go back into effect on Sunday May 23rd. 

This requirement is going back into place seven weeks earlier than originally planned. In order to avoid adjudication, I encourage anyone who is receiving unemployment benefits to read this helpful article on how to comply. And don't hesitate to contact our office with questions, or for assistance. 

State Budget Update

I'm going to periodically pop into the weekly update and define terms, as I know that sometimes legislative emails can skim right over terms without defining them. This week's term is "party line vote." 

A party line vote is a vote that passes, or fails, but on party lines. That means the majority party (Republicans) vote together (all 12 of them on the Joint Committee on Finance), and the Democrats vote together (there are only 4 Democrats on JFC).

Bonus info: The Joint Committee on Finance, which writes the budget, is run by the majority party, and co-chaired by the majority party in both chambers. In Wisconsin right now that's the Republican party, because the Republicans have majority in both chambers of the legislature - the State Senate and the State Assembly.

JFC is comprised of 12 Republicans (6 Senate, 6 Assembly) and 4 Democrats (2 Senate, 2 Assembly). So a "party line vote" is 12 Republicans-4 Democrats. 

(It is impossible for Democrats to pass a motion for the budget without support from the Republicans.)


JFC TOPIC OF THE WEEK - Homelessness 

Governor Evers' proposal included an increase of over $70 million for housing and homelessness initiatives over the next two years. Additionally, Democrats on JFC made a motion that included releasing the $6 million from the JFC supplemental fund that DOA had requested in 2019. There is a remaining balance of $6 million for homelessness and housing, which had been allocated and should have been spent, and this balance will lapse to the general fund if not released by June 30. Republicans did not pass this motion. Republicans instead passed a motion to increase funding to homeless shelters by $600,000 per year.

Rep. Evan Goyke, a Democratic member of JFC, made a brief video explaining the homelessness and housing proposals that you can watch HERE.


This week, the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) met yesterday, May 20th, to vote in an executive session on the following state agencies in the budget: 

  • Department of the Administration (DOA)
    • General Agency Provisions
      • Democrats on the committee introduced an omnibus motion that would add the DOA provisions of Governor Evers' budget that had been removed, such as $100,000 for body cameras for Capitol police, funding for housing and homelessness initiatives, among other provisions. This motion was rejected on a party line vote, 4-12. 
    • Housing and Homelessness 
      • Republicans on the committee declined to approve Gov. Evers' plan to increase funding for housing and homelessness programs by over $70M over the biennium. 
      • They instead adopted a provision to increase funding to homeless shelters by $600,000 per year.
    • Energy and Environment 
    • Personnel Management 
    • Information Technology 
    • Procurement and Risk Management 
  • Elections Commission
    • GOP members of JFC introduced Motion #48 which funds 6 positions focusing on election security and system maintenance. The motion passed unanimously. 
  • Ethics Commission 
    • The Democratic members of JFC introduced a motion to increase the principal registration and lobbyist authorization fee by $50 and also create a new deputy administrator position within the ethics commission. The motion failed 4-12.
    • Republicans introduced Motion #47 which also included the deputy administration position. The motion also removed a classified ethics specialist position and increased the lobbying fees by $10. Motion #47 passed unanimously.
  • Tourism 
    • Republican members of the committee introduced Motion #45 which provides $781,800 each year for Tourism’s general marketing fund and added 3 positions to the Office of Outdoor Recreation temporarily. However, they took no action on the Arts Board or Native American Tourism. This motion passed 12-4.

The co-chairs of the committee decided to delay votes on the Public Service Commission provisions, as it was scheduled to be voted on in this meeting.

Fair Maps Legislation Introduced This Week

On Monday, State Representative Deb Andraca, State Representative Sara Rodriguez, State Senator Jeff Smith, and State Senator Kelda Roys introduced fair maps legislation that would create nonpartisan redistricting process in Wisconsin. I am a coauthor of this bill, and introduced this legislation in the 2019-2020 legislative session.

Read my full statement on the Fair Maps bill HERE.

Broadband Funding

This week Governor Evers and the Public Service Commission announced that they will use $100 million of the American Rescue Plan Act (APRA) for broadband expansion grants. This is the single largest investment in broadband in Wisconsin in history. These grants will focus on providing high speed internet to unserved and underserved areas of Wisconsin.

Read the full announcement HERE.

White House Immigration Policy Update 

The White House gave the following update on multiple actions related to immigration in the U.S.

President Biden has taken Executive Action on Immigration – here are some examples:
1. Paused the construction of the border wall
2. Created a Task Force on reuniting families
3. Deferred Deportations for Dreamers (preserved and fortified DACA)
4. Created a framework to address the causes of migration, to manage migration throughout central America and to provide asylum seekers with safe & orderly processing
5. Executive Order - Restoring faith in our legal immigration system
6. Ending discriminatory bans on entry to the US
7. Executive Order - Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to resettle refugees and planning for the impact of climate change on migration

Additionally, the Biden Administration introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act on their first day in office, which would: 

  • Provide pathways to citizenship and strengthen labor protections
    • Create an earned roadmap to citizenship for undocumented individuals
    • Keep families together
    • Promote immigrant and refugee integration and citizenship
    • Help grow our economy
    • Protect workers from exploitation
  • Prioritize smart border controls
    • Invest in Smart technology at the border
    • Manage the border and protect border communities
    • Crack down on criminal organizations
  • Address root causes of migration
    • Invest in helping countries in crisis (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras)
    • Improve immigration courts and protect vulnerable adults
    • Support asylum seekers

More information on the U.S. Citizenship Act can be found on the White House website HERE

Free Admission to Wisconsin State Parks

On Saturday June 5th and Sunday June 6th the Department of Natural Resources will be holding their 9th annual Free Fun Weekend. This means that all park admission fees, fishing license requirements, and trail passes will be waived for the weekend so that all Wisconsinites can enjoy our state's beautiful parks without the fee.

For more information, click HERE.

Meet My Team!

On Wednesday, I finally got to meet my new team member, Savanna, in-person! We’ve been meeting virtually for 5 months! Maddie, Savanna and I are all now fully vaccinated, and happy to be together today on the steps of the East Wing for our first in-person team meeting of 2021 (in what appears to be a high school musical and we are about to break into song). 

 COVID-19 Vaccine Update

As of May 20th, 4,953,257 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Wisconsin and 46% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose, with 40.1% fully vaccinated!

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.


607,992 confirmed cases (increase of 406)

11.37% of total tests are positive, by person (for 5/21/2021)

30,555 hospitalizations (5% of cases- increase of 76)

594,186 recovered cases (98% of all cases)

2,921,240 negative test results (increase of 3,165)

6,986 devastating deaths (increase of 8)

14th District Counties

Milwaukee - 106,602 confirmed cases (increase of 60)
Waukesha -  43,956 confirmed cases (increase of 27)

*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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