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 April 10, 2020


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Effective today, Governor Evers has directed the Department of Natural Resources to close most state-owned public recreational properties in our region.  He stated that this decision is due to "unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism and an abundance of caution."


Work continues in Madison to craft legislation that will be agreeable to both Democrats and Republicans to help our state respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.  At the top of our list is to repeal temporarily the one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits for those who lost their jobs due to the government's closure orders.  If that's you, I expect that I'll have the opportunity soon (next week?) to vote in favor of reimbursing you for the week of benefits you may have already missed.


The Evers administration has discretion over how to spend the nearly $2 billion in federal stimulus money that is already headed Wisconsin's way without any legislative oversight or transparency requirements.  It's a very good thing that we allowed the U.S. Congress to craft its response first; as it turns out, states who rushed to spend their own money up front are going to receive less federal assistance.


Some of the policy ideas we're discussing will allow Wisconsin to draw down additional federal money beyond the $2 billion and thus deliver additional relief without tapping state funds.  Another important provision that I expect to take up is making sure your business or nonprofit organization won't get slapped with a fat state income tax bill in the event that you benefit from a federal loan that is ultimately forgiven.  Yet another provision that we envision will temporarily enable government agencies to suspend statutory deadlines for activities (especially required payments) that they enforce.


Under current law, I am usually required under the campaign-related rules to stop distributing this newsletter from April 15th until the November election.  (We call it the "50 Piece Rule."  We can't send or give more than 49 identical things, including e-mails or even business cards, to the public during that time.)  Another idea we are considering a temporary repeal of this rule so that we can keep sending communications such as this newsletter until the health emergency is over.  What do you think: should we keep the rule in place or repeal it?


Finally: please join me in remembering the life of Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Albert Wilkening, Wisconsin's adjutant general (that is, the commander of the Wisconsin National Guard) from 2002-07, who passed away this week after a long battle with cancer.  He is credited with developing our state's framework for managing deployments during the early days of the Global War on Terror as well as the state's protocols for instances when Wisconsin service members lost their lives overseas.  He began serving the United States in uniform in 1968 and was known well as a leader of character and courage.  I mourn his passing.


Have a blessed Easter!


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New Resources


  • The Wisconsin Hospital Association has developed a new dashboard tool that anyone may use to track our state's COVID-19 hospitalizations and equipment capacity.  You can see at a glance how many of our 133 hospitals' various types of beds are available, how many ventilators are in use vs. how many are available and more.  Wisconsin has long been considered a national leader in health care transparency; this new collaborative tool is impressive!


  • The member financial institutions of the Wisconsin Bankers Association and the Wisconsin Credit Union League may be competitors, but they are doing an incredible job of cooperating to collect resources that you may need; processing your Payroll Protection Loan applications to connect you with assistance; and, not insignificantly, helping your government (including me) understand what specific solutions are needed by businesses and families.  The resources they have compiled include current maps of which financial institutions are open; explanations in plain English of what assistance is available; which financial institutions offer which products; and much more.



Office of Representative Terry Katsma
State Capitol, Room 306 East
P.O. Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-0656
Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov |