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The percentage of positive Coronavirus tests in Wisconsin continues to trend downward. There is also further decline in the number of hospital admissions per the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Look for up-to-date information here.

 The Wait for Unemployment Benefits

On March 17th at 3pm, Governor Evers ordered all bars and restaurants be closed by 5pm that day due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A week later, he ordered all “non-essential” businesses, including most retailers, closed. Obviously, most of the employees of these businesses found themselves unemployed and looking for financial help. Hundreds of thousands of people began calling the unemployment office. On May 19th, sixty-five days later, the Governor told Fox 6 News that he’s “gearing up” to take the calls. Over 700,000 Wisconsinites still need help with their unemployment claims.

To all of you still waiting for COVID-19 benefits, we have sent a letter to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) asking if they need a federal waiver to help. We have requested they add hours and weekends to process the claims faster, and questioned why they did not transfer employees sooner. The response has been frustrating. Too many of you are still waiting, and the Governor and his DWD staff seem unmoved and are okay catching up in "October." There are solutions but the Governor and his staff are unwilling or incompetent to make the changes necessary to get everyone their benefits. Many of you are suffering from the Governors inaction. Call, email and send letters to his office.

DWD Breaking the Law

As if businesses and job creators have not been hit hard enough during COVID-19, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has failed to follow the law and is creating more destruction with unemployment claims. On April 14th, we passed AB 1038, allowing the use of Wisconsin State Unemployment reserves first, and providing relief to business owners who were forced to lay off employees. This would keep businesses’ unemployment accounts from being drained, and keep their unemployment rates from skyrocketing from no fault of their own, due to the mandated Safer-At-Home Order.

Neither is being followed by DWD and will cost businesses millions of dollars in increased rates, when this was clearly addressed with legislation. Our local businesses should not be penalized further. Last week republicans asked the administration to adhere to the bill’s directives that the Governor signed into law. DWD Secretary Frostman has once again failed Wisconsin.

COVID-19 & Voting

Some communities were concerned about a new wave of COVID-19 during the upcoming fall election. Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) will meet to discuss the process of sending applications for voting by mail to every registered voter in the fall election. Again, this is an application to vote by mail, and not the actual ballot to vote. If the voter returns the application, the voter will receive a ballot approximately 6 weeks prior to the election. WEC will be determining the application format, which will require an ID, and only sending it to registered voters. High school seniors may wish to contact their local clerks when they turn 18 for voting registration. The next WEC meeting is on June 10th, and many times the meetings are broadcast live on WisconsinEye. This vote is done by WEC and not the Legislature.

Supreme Court to Hear Election Integrity Case

Wisconsin’s voter rolls have about 200,000 registrants suspected to have moved residences. The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) was ordered to delete those names and clean up their rolls but they filed an appeal and won. The appeals court said that the Wisconsin statute in question does not apply to WEC, but we will see what the Supreme Court has to say about it. If you wish to watch the Supreme Court case, it will be broadcast on WisconsinEye.


Representative Janel Brandtjen
State Capitol, Room 12 West
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

Toll-Free (888) 534-0022 or (608) 267-2367 | |