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January 29th, 2021


E-Update: Vaccine Updates, New Legislation, What's Happening This Week


Contents

  • Vaccine Update
  • Additional COVID-19 Legislation Passed
  • Mask Mandate 
  • Meetings
  • Eviction Moratorium Extended

 Vaccine Update

This week state public health officials began to allow healthcare facilities to begin vaccinating our first responders, including police and fire personnel. The Department of Health Services (DHS) also announced anyone over the age of 65 is eligible to receive the vaccine.

I am continuing to encourage DHS officials to expand the eligibility criteria for vaccinations so those who wish to receive the vaccine are able to receive it.

Here is a link to the DHS website for more information on vaccine eligibility.


Additional COVID-19 Legislation Passed

Yesterday the State Assembly passed Assembly Bills 4 and 5. These bills provide commonsense solutions for improving Wisconsin’s distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Assembly Bill 4 removes administrative hurdles that have created a bottleneck constraint in Wisconsin’s vaccine distribution. This bill requires the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to respond to vaccine provider applications within 10 days. The bill also allows qualified pharmacy students and technicians to perform immunizations under supervision.

Assembly Bill 5 requires DHS to provide an updated map of available vaccination sites to the general public. AB5 also requires DHS to create a centralized vaccine scheduling portal on the DHS website for people to sign up, as well as ensuring Wisconsin senior residents are prioritized to receive the vaccine immediately.

I am confident that this legislation will allow Wisconsin to become a leader in vaccinating our population. These simple actions will ensure that our most vulnerable are able to be vaccinated while bringing Wisconsin’s vaccination efforts up to speed with our neighboring states.


Mask Mandate

I want to thank all of my constituents that took the time to contact my office this week on the pending vote to repeal the statewide mask mandate. I have heard from numerous constituents on both sides the mask mandate and I want to say that I truly value your input on this important issue.

I was very pleased that the SJR3/AJR4 scheduled votes to repeal the mask mandate were taken off the Assembly calendar. Had the resolutions come up for a vote I would have voted against the repeal. I also do not intend to support a vote to repeal the mask mandate if it comes before the Assembly for consideration in the future.

Questions arose as to whether our ability to receive certain federal monies would be affected by moving forward with SJR3/AJR4. Additionally, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to release an opinion which should clarify the use of emergency orders used in succession. I believe it is prudent to hold off action until the full financial impact is more fully understood and the Court has an opportunity to issue their ruling.

 

Thank you again to everyone that took the time to contact my office this week.


Meetings with Wisconsin Hospitals Association and Wisconsin Wetlands Association

This week I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from both the Wisconsin Wetlands Association and the Wisconsin Hospitals Association.

In my meeting with the Hospitals Association we discussed the needs of Wisconsin’s healthcare industry during the pandemic. I am always appreciative to learn more about how I as a legislator can assist our hospitals during this very challenging time.

I was also privileged to meet with the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, the Wetlands Association is a nonpartisan group committed to allocating public and private resources to wetland protection programs while providing valuable research and insight into the health of Wisconsin’s water resources.

Learning more about how we can protect Wisconsin’s water remains a priority of mine as I continue my legislative work which I started last session as the head of The Speaker's Task Force on Water Quality. 


 Eviction Moratorium Extended

This week it was announced that the Federal Eviction Moratorium was extended. The program was originally scheduled to end on January 31, 2021 but has now been extended through the end of March.

If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with housing during the pandemic I would encourage you to visit the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's (DATCP) website for more information.

As always, please do not hesitate to follow up with any additional questions or concerns you may have. I can be reached at Rep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 237-9151.