March 19, 2021


Assembly Floor Session Recap

The State Assembly was in session twice this week, and a number of great bills were brought forward and passed. The bills ranged from protecting Wisconsinites with pre-existing medical conditions to supporting our sporting heritage. A few of note include: 

  • Senate Bill 3 - requires Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) to be licensed and creates more consumer protections on prescription drug prices.
  • Assembly Bill 13 - allows dentists, who have already had medical training, to administer certain vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine to help get shots distributed.
  • Assembly Bill 34 - guarantees insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions at the state level for an added layer of protection for patients.
  • Assembly Bill 148 - updates regulations for health services and practice of health care providers licensed outside of Wisconsin
  • Senate Bill 48 - allows bidders to potentially win a certificate for Class A bear hunting licenses from the WI Bear Hunters Association more than one time
  • Senate Bill 74 - makes updates to the regulation of home inspectors in Wisconsin
  • Senate Bill 28 - aligns penalties for those who commit battery and while being held at Sand Ridge awaiting trial with penalties for those who are officially committed at the facility and commit battery 

We have another Assembly floor session coming up next week on March 23, which includes Assembly Bill 149, a bill that would ensure Wisconsinites have a voice in how billions of federal dollars from the recent American Rescue Plan Act are spent. As we continue through the session, I look forward to reviewing even more bills to help Wisconsinites. 

Budget Listening Sessions Statewide & In-District

I've appreciated hearing from folks around the district on their thoughts on the budget so far. Another great way to have your insights heard during the budget process is through budget listening sessions. To that end, the Joint Finance Committee (budget committee) is holding four committee listening sessions throughout the state. The Joint Finance Committee listening session schedule is: 

  • Friday, April 9 - UW Whitewater, Whitewater
  • Wednesday, April 21 - The Hodag Dome, Rhinelander
  • Thursday, April 22 - UW Stout, Menomonie
  • Wednesday, April 28 - Virtual

The Joint Finance Committee has also created a dedicated email address for input on the budget: They've also created a website that provides an opportunity for Wisconsinites to share their budget thoughts and priorities with the committee at large:

I am also holding a number of in-district listening sessions with Senator Felzkowski to hear from constituents on the budget. So far, we have the following listening sessions scheduled for Saturday, March 27:

  • 9:15 am - Florence Town Hall, Wild River Interpretive Center & Tourism Meeting Room (5628 Forestry Drive, Florence, WI 54121)
  • 11:15 am - Dunbar Town Hall (N18956 CC Camp Rd., Dunbar, WI  54119)
  • 1:45 pm - Stephenson Town Hall (W9484 County Rd. X, Crivitz, WI  54114)
  • 4:00 pm - Oconto Falls Town Hall (8680 Hwy 22 W, Town of Oconto Falls, WI)

I look forward to hearing from folks at these listening sessions. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to reach out directly to my office to share your thoughts on the budget or any other state issue.

DWD Unemployment Update 

With the high number of unemployment claims being filed in Wisconsin and nationwide in recent months, delays in determinations and payments have been a too common occurrence. As a legislator, I'm able to reach out to DWD and make an inquiry on your behalf if you are experiencing issues or delays with your unemployment claim.

Request Unemployment Claim Inquiry

With tax season upon us, I also want to share some helpful tax information for those who have received unemployment. If you received unemployment during the 2020 tax period, your tax statement is called form 1099-G, not form W-2. To view and print your current or previous year 1099-G forms online, logon to the online benefits services website.

Unemployment benefits including Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUS), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) and Extended Benefits (EB) are all taxable income. More information, forms and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on DWD's 1099-G Tax Information webpage

COVID-19 Vaccine Update 

Click the image above for more on the latest vaccination data

Vaccination distribution is continuing throughout the state and in the 36th Assembly District, and while the supply is still limited, we are seeing steady progress. Due to the limited supply, Wisconsin and states around the nation have adopted phased prioritization approaches to determine eligible populations. A number of groups are eligible for the vaccine currently, though vaccine providers may prioritize previously eligible groups before newer eligible groups. 

Eligible groups are able to be vaccinated at many places including: health care providers, pharmacies, local health departments, places of employment, and community based vaccination sites. Each county in the 36th Assembly District has information on their webpage regarding vaccine availability in the county or signing up for a vaccine:

DHS anticipates that Wisconsin will be able to open eligibility on May 1 to include anyone age 16 and older. Because it's important to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, DHS approves starting new groups while finishing previous ones to make sure no vaccines go to waste and those at risk have the best chance of getting a vaccine sooner. More information on the phased approach can be found on the DHS' webpage

Income Tax Return & Payment Deadline
Extended to May 17, 2021

In light of tax season, I want to make sure everyone is aware of the recent deadline extension issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This week, the IRS shared that the federal income tax filing and payment due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will automatically be extended to May 17, 2021. As a result, the Wisconsin individual income tax return filing and payment dates are extended to May 17, 2021 as well. 

It's been a tough year for everyone, and with people still trying to catch up financially and emotionally, this extension is aimed at making things a bit easier for folks who need the extra time. Some things to note about the extension as shared by the WI Department of Revenue (DOR) are: 

  • Individuals do not have to file any extension forms to be eligible for this new due date
  • No interest or penalties will accrue before May 17, 2021, they will apply beginning May 18, 2021
  • No underpayment interest will apply for failure to make quarterly estimated individual income tax payments for the 2020 tax year
  • This relief is only for 2020 individual income tax returns and payments that are normally due on April 15, 2021
  • This relief does not apply to 2021 estimated tax payments for individuals (the first payment of which is due April 15, 2021) or any other returns or tax payments due to the DOR

The full press release can be found here, and the DOR customer service line is also available to answer specific questions at (608) 266-2772.

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.