April 16, 2021

  

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Getting Federal Relief Funds to
Wisconsin Communities

In a past e-update, I mentioned that the legislature passed the Truth in Spending Act, which would have created Legislative oversight of federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Sadly, Governor Evers vetoed the Truth in Spending Act, however Republicans have crafted a federal aid package that we hope Governor Evers will support this time. The package would direct Governor Evers to allocate federal ARPA funds in a fiscally appropriate manner and ensure priorities of citizens statewide are met by the spending. 

We brought this new federal aid package up for a floor vote this week, where I voted in favor of its passage. I believe the bill is a happy medium, maintaining the Governor's authority while also ensuring that the recovery and relief priorities I've heard from constituents on are taken into account and addressed. The package prioritizes helping our small family businesses, investing in broadband expansion, and boosting our suffering tourism industry among many other things. The following is a list of some of the items covered in the package that would be funded by the federal ARPA funds: 

  • Aid to Households: $1 billion to fund a payment to every property taxpayer in the state, equal to approximately 10% of the property taxes levied on the person's real property in 2020
  • Small Business Assistance: $200 million for small business grants
  • Tourism Assistance: $50 million for tourism grants and $25 million for advertising grants for amusement parks
  • Rural Economic Development & Farmer Assistance: $50 million for rural economic development grants and $50 million for farmer support funds
  • Long-term Care Assistance: $150 million for grants for nursing homes and assisted living facilities and worker bonuses
  • Strengthen Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund: Requires the use of recovery funds to keep UI taxes at lowest tax schedule
  • Local Road Funding: $308 million to give $2 million per county and $2,000 per road mile to cities, villages and towns for road improvements
  • Broadband Expansion: $500 million in broadband expansion grants
  • EMS and Mental Health: $68.2 million for EMS technology upgrades and a psychiatric hospital in Eau Claire
  • Debt Repayment: $250 million to pay down state debt and $250 million to pay off transportation revenue bonds
  • Clean Water Investments: $61 million for water infrastructure projects

Wisconsin communities will be able to benefit greatly from these funds, and making sure the federal relief funds the priorities laid out by communities and citizens is an important part of our recovery process. At a time when our communities need help the most, I believe this is a way we can work together with Governor Evers to get the relief where it needs to go, so I hope to see this new federal aid package signed into law soon. 

Ensuring Holocaust Education

Picture Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/ Milwaukee Jewish Federation

During the Assembly floor session this Tuesday, the Assembly unanimously passed Assembly Bill 55, which would require all Wisconsin schools to include the Holocaust and other genocides into social studies standards. It would also require instruction on these topics for students in grades 5 to 12. An informative video on this bill's importance is available, which can be watched here

The saying rings true, that "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." As legislators, we must play our role to ensure these events are taught in our school's history classes and are not forgotten by the next generations. I'm proud that we were able to come together to pass this bill, which is now waiting for Governor Evers' approval. 

Connect with Our New State Senator: 
Sen. Mary Felzkowski

Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 2020, replacing the seat that Senator Tom Tiffany had previously held. I've had the pleasure of working with her over the years when she served in the State Assembly, and am pleased to have her as our Senator serving the 12th Senate District. 

Like me, Senator Felzkowski also sends out a regular weekly newsletter, sharing the latest from the 12th Senate District and the State Senate. To sign up to receive the 'Felzkowski Flyer,' click here. If you'd like to reach out to her office directly, she can be reached as follows: 

Senator Mary Felzkowski
Wisconsin State Capitol
PO Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707-7882

Phone: (608) 266-2509
Email: Sen.Felzkowski@legis.wi.gov

Request Unemployment Help 

Though I've seen a distinct decrease in the amount of inquiry requests coming into my office, I've still continued to hear from folks who are running into issues with their unemployment. As a legislator, I'm still able to reach out to DWD and make an inquiry on your behalf if you are also experiencing issues or delays with your unemployment claim.

Click here to request an Unemployment Claim Inquiry

COVID-19 Quick Links

Below are some quick links to essential COVID-19 resources and information:

Follow the Legislative Action

In order to stay up to date on any legislation, proposals, or your legislator, a free notification service is available through the Wisconsin State Legislature's website. You can sign up for nightly personalized email notifications based on our state's legislative activity. This is a wonderful way to stay informed about state politics and proposals that you are interested in.