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 December 4, 2020



Earlier this year, state Republicans and Democrats came together (with only two "no" votes) to enact comprehensive legislation in response to the coronavirus outbreak.  For instance, we prohibited patients from being charged a co-pay for COVID-19 testing; waived the usual waiting period for collecting unemployment insurance; expanded SeniorCare health benefits; postponed tax due dates; and much more.


Now, Assembly Republicans have published a new set of ideas to fight the spread of the virus, help struggling families and respond to additional challenges that have emerged.  A few highlights include:


  • Ensuring that emergency funding is available (after using federal funds) to sustain community testing and other local health department services;


  • Requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to permit residents to designate an "essential visitor" who may visit in person;


  • Requiring DWD to implement reforms recommended by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau;


  • Prohibiting state and local governments from banning public gatherings in houses of worship;


  • Preempting frivolous lawsuits against healthcare providers, schools and individuals who made good-faith efforts to operate safely; and


  • Establishing an efficient plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines to everyone who wants one as vaccines become available; increasing the availability of in-home rapid antigen tests; and prohibiting governments and employers from penalizing people who choose not to receive a vaccine.


I encourage you to read the entire list of our ideas here.  Together, the package creates more tools for delivering help where help is needed; it builds off some of Governor Evers' most recent ideas; and it provides a roadmap for where we go from here.


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Election Investigation Continues


As I have shared in recent weeks, our state legislature plays no role in determining the winner of the U.S. presidential election.  But it is our job to author procedures that result in a fair and transparent process.


Next week Friday, December 11 at 10:00 AM, the state legislature will conduct a joint hearing (of Assembly and Senate committees) about the 2020 election.  For weeks, your elected representatives have been receiving information and reviewing each claim.  On that date, the leaders of our inquiry will report their initial findings and invite speakers to testify before the joint committee.


We owe our best effort to the people of Wisconsin and the entire country to take seriously all claims of misconduct or rules violations; discover the truth; and restore confidence in our electoral procedures.


The joint committee event will be live-streamed and accessible to the public free of charge, and archived for later viewing, at www.wiseye.org.



In Case You Missed It



A new report published recently documented that Wisconsin's 2015 FoodShare reforms helped increase the labor force participation rate.


State law went into effect in April 2015 that required able-bodied adults without school-aged children to seek work or enroll in job-related training to remain eligible to receive FoodShare benefits for more than a few months.


After controlling for variables such as age, race and labor force size, the study found that these Republican reforms brought a statistically significant number of people back into the workforce, increased the labor force participation rate and led to a decrease in the unemployment rate.


The human spirit doesn't want to be dependent on government assistance.  According to this study, these reforms worked as intended, helping thousands of our neighbors move from dependence toward independence.



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 |