Welcome to my Weekly Pandemic Update. Throughout the week, my office does its best to collect and disperse information that may be of aid or interest to you from both state and federal entities. 

CARES Act Funding Dispersed

Gov. Evers has $1.9 billion in discretionary funds from the Federal CARES Act. A few weeks ago, I joined with many of my legislative colleague in sending a letter to Governor Evers requesting that $50 million of the $1.9 billion be used in direct cash relief to farmers.


I’m happy, and thankful, that the Governor announced support for farmers earlier this week!


The Governor also announced this week how he was going to spend much of the remaining discretionary funds and I anticipate more details for the remaining funds will be laid out in the coming weeks. So far, this is what he has announced: 

$1 Billion to Local Government for COVID-19 testing, tracing, operations and resources

$25 Million for Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program

$15 Million for Food Security Initiative

$100 Million Long-Term Care, Emergency Medical Services, and Home & Community Based Services

Department of Workforce Development


My office is hearing from numerous constituent every single day about the backlog and frustration they are facing regarding their Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit delays.


My office has received a couple of updates from the Department that I would like to pass along. Please know that the legislature is working hard to find some solutions on how to move forward and better the process.


If you have a general question about the process or UI in general, please start with looking at DWD’s FAQs (link available here) – these are updated frequently as more and more similar constituent questions are posed to the Department or encountered.


DWD has informed the Legislature that once a request is received by DWD from an office, it can take up to 10 business days (two weeks) before that request is processed. Please note that if a claim requires adjudication, there is almost a two month backlog.


If you’re interested in where DWD stands in terms of claims received, claims paid, etc., you can find that information through the UI Stats Website. On the site’s main page is the current week, previous weeks can be found in the light gray box on the right hand side of the page.


Next Wednesday, May 27, 2020, beginning at 11 am, the Senate Committee on Labor & Regulatory Reform will be holding an Informational Hearing about the Unemployment Insurance COVID-19 issues.


*The committee will hear testimony from invited speakers only. 


**Due to the utilization of social distancing guidelines, there may be no seats available to the public in the hearing room, but an overflow room(s) will be available.   


***The public may also observe the informational hearing through WisconsinEye coverage, available at www.wiseye.org.

Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
OCI_WI_logo-2.pngIt has been recently brought to my attention that some people have been receiving bills from their insurance companies for visits or tests related to COVID-19. 

OCI  issued a press release about this very topic earlier this week. If you were tested or seen for symptoms of coronavirus, and then later received a bill from your insurance company, PLEASE call your insurance's billing department to get it sorted. It is possible the billing went through before the federal and state laws making these items no cost to consumers were enacted. 


As the press release points out, free community testing sites are also available for Wisconsinites. If you feel like you may need to get tested, there are two test sites in the 50th Assembly District: 

The Richland Hospital

Days of operation: Ongoing
Hours: 8:00am - 12:00pm 
Phone: (608) 604-9953
Process: Drive-thru/by appointment/walk-up

Reedsburg Area Medical Center

Days of operation: Ongoing
Hours: 3:30pm - 5:00pm 
Phone: (608) 524-6477
Process: By appointment

Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection

Throughout this week, DATCP was issuing some guidance documents to various industries as they begin to open up. Here are some that maybe of interest to business owners in the 50th Assembly District: 

Recommendations for Reopening Restaurants, Retail Businesses

Guidelines for Operating Campgrounds during COVID-19

Recommendations for Reopening Pools and Water Attractions

Updated Guidance for Farmers Market Vendors, Customers

Commemorate-At-Home Memorial Day Activities


Traditionally, Memorial Day is commemorated with public gatherings at cemeteries like the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemeteries, churches, and memorials for ceremonies and dedications. As a society, we use Memorial Day to gather and honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country; we continue to show our gratitude in the observance of the day. Unfortunately, this pandemic has posed a unique challenge in trying to continue that tradition. However, we can still honor those who have passed on in a more unique way than ever before – by bringing Memorial Day to you and your family in your own home. Click on the above graphic to participate in a virtual Memorial Day Observance on Monday at 9 am.

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum also has a handful of idea on how to “commemorate-at-home” and observe Memorial Day, in case you are unable to attend a public ceremony due to the pandemic:

Listen to Taps

Place A Window Flag

Learn Flag Etiquette

Set a Missing Man Table

Add a Facebook Frame

Share on Social Media via “#WIRemember