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March 26th, 2021

E-Update: This Week in the Legislature


  • Vaccine Update
  • Meetings this Week
  • Browntown Budget Listening Session
  • Specialty Crop Grants
  • District News

Vaccine Update

This week the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that Wisconsin residents ages 16 and over with medical conditions associated with increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are eligible for vaccination. This brings the total eligible vaccination population to over 2 million people.

Here is a list of all eligible groups:

-Frontline Healthcare workers

-Residents and staff of nursing and assisted living facilities

-Police and Fire personnel, correctional staff

- All adults aged 65 and older

-Educators and childcare staff

-Individuals enrolled in Medicaid and long-term care programs

-Non-frontline healthcare personnel

-Some public-facing essential workers.

The 51st Assembly District continues to lead Wisconsin in vaccination rates. Below are the current vaccination rates by county.

Richland County: 1st dose 29.7%, 2nd dose 20.9%

Sauk County: 1st dose 29.5%, 2nd dose 18.3%

Iowa County: 1st dose 33.0%, 2nd dose 21.7%

Lafayette County: 1st dose 30.8%, 2nd dose 19.2%

Green County:1st dose 31.3%, 2nd dose 19.3%

All 5 counties in the 51st Assembly District, have vaccination rates higher than the state average.


Meetings this Week

This week as part of National Ag Day, my fellow southwest Wisconsin Legislators Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc) and I met with representatives of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and farmers in our district to discuss the current Ag economy as well as budget priorities for our local farmers. Our discussion included topics like broadband expansion, funding for producer-led watershed programs, and dairy processor grants.

I believe that these issues will find bipartisan support in the upcoming budget and I am looking forward to working with my fellow southwest Wisconsin Legislators in continuing to support our farmers this session.

This week, I also had the opportunity to meet with Jamie Duve the Administrator of Mineral Point Health Services, Rick Gorman the Assistant Administrator of Greenway Manor in Spring Green, as well as Katie White and Rick Abrams representing the Wisconsin Health Care Association and the Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living (WHCA/WiCAL).

In the meeting I learned more about the struggles and needs that the pandemic has brought on this sector of the health care industry, as well as learning more about the needs and priorities for long-term care facilities.

This session I look forward to continuing my work on legislation to address the ongoing workforce shortage and increasing access to care in the long-term care industry.

Also this week, Representative Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) and I met with Crystal Potts and Ben Van Pelt from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In the meeting Representative Tranel and I learned more about the work the UW-Madison is doing to get our students back in the classroom by the fall semester, as well several new projects the University is working on to make facility improvements on campus.

The UW-Madison is one of the leading higher education institutions of choice for students in our district. I look forward to supporting initiatives for the UW-Madison as well as other UW system schools and trade schools in the budget.

Browntown Budget Listening Session

I look forward to hearing from more of you about the budget. I will be holding another budget listening session this upcoming Monday. Here are the details:

Listening Session with Sen. Marklein and Rep. Novak
Monday, March 29, 2021
Browntown Fire Department (Community Room)
107 S Mill St.
Browntown, WI 53522 
10-11 a.m.

Specialty Crop Grants

The Wisconsin Department of of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is now accepting applications for the 2021 Specialty Crop Block Grant program. Applications are due by April 2nd.

Eligible specialty crops include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery crops, herbs and more. A full list can be found at link here.

Grant funds will be awarded for projects up to three years in duration. Typical projects are awarded between $10,000 and $100,000, More information can be found on DATCP's website.

 District News

Recently it was announced that the American Wine Project in Mineral Point was awarded a $250,000 Community Development Investment (CDI) grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). 

This grant will support plans to turn the neglected property into a wine production site and accompanying event space.

I am glad to see this grant money be awarded to the American Wine Project. These local projects, supported through the CDI grant program help redevelop properties in downtown areas. This project will help support local economic activity, strengthen our Main Street business community and support tourism in Mineral Point and the surrounding area.

Have a great weekend!

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