Katsma_websitebanner_2017 resized.jpg

 January 8, 2021



The Wisconsin State Assembly has officially commenced the 2021-22 legislative session and has already convened twice.  I am humbled once again to have been entrusted with the duty of representing you!


In our first meeting, the members took the oath of office and signed our names in the same book that has been signed by Wisconsin state representatives since the 1870s.  We also adopted Assembly Resolution 3, in which we observed a number of election procedures that have recently not followed the letter of the law and committed to addressing these issues as our highest priority.  Citing COVID-19 concerns, Assembly Democrats refused to attend this meeting at all.


In our second meeting, the body debated and ultimately passed Assembly Bill 1, our first legislation of the year (which I coauthored), including 44 provisions providing for new COVID-19 relief, such as:


  • Eliminating any copayments for COVID-19 vaccinations (and extending the ban on copayments for COVID-19 testing);


  • Protecting patients against surprise medical billing;


  • Aligning state law with federal CMS guidance to allow nursing home/assisted living residents to designate at least one person as an "essential visitor" who may enter the facility;


  • Creating a liability law to protect good actors against frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits;


  • Prohibiting employers and health departments from mandating a vaccine; limiting governments' powers to shut down businesses without oversight; and prohibiting government agents from closing places of worship;


  • Requiring school boards to vote every 14 days on any decision to provide virtual-only instruction, and easing the open enrollment process so that families may be more readily served by neighboring schools; and


  • Requiring the Department of Workforce Development to clear its claims backlog that has now lasted nearly a year.


Not one Assembly Democrat voted in support of Assembly Bill 1.  It advanced on strictly partisan lines.  (They attended this meeting but mostly chose not to take their socially distanced seats.  In the photo above, we're reciting the Pledge of Allegiance; a few Democrats were present then.)  Instead of joining us in a compromise, the Democrats' counter-proposal included an enormous new round of spending, a massive expansion of welfare and other ideas that they know Republicans oppose.


In this same second meeting of the Assembly, the body also adopted a resolution that supports the people's constitutional rights to free speech and assembly but condemns all forms of political violence.  I would have thought that surely this could be something that every Republican and Democrat elected to the statehouse, at least, could agree on.  In an unfortunate sign of the times, at least one Assembly Democrat determined after the fact to "formally condemn this horrific, manipulative and overtly racist resolution."  The freshman Madison representative stated that these "petty words" constitute "an act of violence in itself."  What nonsense!  We said it in the resolution, and I'll say it again: political violence in any form has no place in the American system of government and should never be tolerated.


Count me among the legislators who are genuinely offering real solutions, real compromise and a good-faith opportunity for our governor to approve some ideas that he too can support.


 Electronic signature.jpg


Vaccine Distribution Update


As you may be aware, the federal government has begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines to each state.  So far, Wisconsin has received about 266,000 vaccine doses; about 110,000 doses have been administered.


A report emerged this week that the Evers administration has fallen behind most other Midwest states in delivering our doses to the front lines.  In Assembly Bill 1, I voted to provide new tools to help catch up, such as allowing pharmacy students and dentists to administer vaccines to patients and creating a special temporary state license to help make sure there are enough qualified people to transport vaccines quickly to the front lines.


Vaccine doses are gradually reaching Sheboygan County, which you may read about in greater detail here.  Every skilled nursing home and assisted living facility has been paired with a pharmacy partner; they and healthcare workers are beginning to receive vaccinations in accordance with state Department of Health Services guidelines.  (As of today, the state estimates that half of Wisconsin's nursing homes have begun offering vaccinations.)  The agency has not yet determined who will be the next highest priority to receive vaccinations.  Sheboygan County Health estimates that vaccines will be available to the general public in spring 2021 or later.




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|  |