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February 26th, 2021


E-Update: What Happened this Week


Contents

  • Unemployment System Improvement Bill Signed
  • WNA Annual Meeting
  • WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament
  • DATCP Grants Available


 UI System Improvement Bill Signed

This week the Wisconsin State Assembly unanimously passed legislation, Special Session Senate Bill 1, that directs the Governor to begin upgrading the Unemployment Insurance (UI) computer systems at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The bill requires DWD to issue a request for proposals within 30 days after the effective date of the bill. The legislation also includes provisions to protect businesses, schools and local governments from frivolous lawsuits and exempts the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits through March 14.

This bill was signed into law on Thursday by Governor Evers. I am glad that this bill was signed into law finally beginning the process of updating the UI system after months of delay and struggles at the Department of Workforce Development.

I have heard from far too many constituents that continue to experience delays in the processing of their unemployment benefits, and I am glad to see the Governor and DWD finally recognize the need to resolve these issues and bring the necessary relief to those struggling with unemployment through no fault of their own.


Wisconsin Newspaper Association Meeting

This week I had the privilege to attend the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Annual meeting as a guest speaker. During the meeting, I provided members an update on relevant bills currently circulating the Legislature and fielded questions on ways public officials like myself and local newspapers can best communicate with constituents.

One topic of discussion was legal notices. There are currently two bills circulating the Legislature relating to Legal Notice publications. I am a strong believer in the publication of legal notices in printed newspapers. I believe that this provides accountability and transparency for government officials and organizations.

My professional background gives me a unique perspective on this issue. I was a newspaper editor for 25 years and can see the value of public notices.

As a local and state government official, I want the public to have as much information as possible.  It doesn’t matter if they gather their information from a government website or if they read it in the public notice section of the local newspaper. In many areas of the state, newspapers are the lifeblood of a community and sometimes the only convenient source of information.


WIAA State Girls Basketball Tournament

Congratulations to both the Blackhawk and Mineral Point girls’ basketball teams on your fantastic seasons and qualifying for the WIAA state tournament.

The Blackhawk girls played in the Division 5 semi-final Thursday morning. Blackhawk lost in close contest to Three Lakes 51-48. Congratulations girls and Coach Flanagan on an incredible run!

The Mineral Point girls will be competing in the Division 4 semifinal today Friday February 26th at 12:30 PM in Lacrosse. More info on the game can be found here. Best of luck Pointers!


 Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grants

Wisconsin businesses and farmers who are looking to grow within local markets are encouraged to apply for a Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grant. Proposals must be received before 12:00 p.m. on March 26, 2021. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will award up to $300,000 in grant funding; requests can be between $5,000 and $50,000. Each proposal must include a cover page, a completed budget template and a project description.

To qualify, applicants must be individuals, groups or business involved in Wisconsin production agriculture, food processing, food distribution, food warehousing, retail food establishments or agricultural tourism operations. Since the grant began in 2008, there have been more 450 applications submitted. Of those applicants, seventy-six projects have been funded all over Wisconsin. Previous grant recipients have generated nearly $10 million in new local food sales, created and retained more than 200 jobs and assisted thousands of producers and markets.

Applications can be found online at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/BuyLocalBuyWisconsinGrants.aspx


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 Rep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov or (608) 237-9151.