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COVID-19 E-Update #7

April 14, 2020

Dear Neighbors, 

I have a few important updates to share today, along with my usual round-up of resources and reminders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, I want to thank you all once again for following along. I also want to thank our front line health workers, essential employees, and first responders for all of their work in this trying time. 

Second, I want to let you know that this may be the final E-Update you receive in your inbox for a while. Because election season officially begins tomorrow, I am currently prohibited by law from sending mass mailings or emails to constituents by law and campaign ethics rules.

In the Assembly today, we passed our first of (hopefully) multiple bipartisan COVID-19 relief bills, which includes an exception for COVID-19 related legislative communications during this public health crisis. However, until the Senate passes the bill and the Governor signs it into law, I will be prohibited from sending further E-Updates to your inbox until after the November election.

Even if the bill does not pass, I will still be writing updates and round-ups of resources. You will be able to find them on my Facebook and my Twitter, as well as on my legislative website. If the bill is signed into law, these updates will continue to come to your inbox and you will hear about it from me in my next update.

If you have any questions, would like more information, or need assistance navigating state government, you can always reach out to my office by phone at (608) 266-0634 or via email at rep.neubauer@legis.wisconsin.gov (or just reply to this email!) While we are practicing social distancing and working from home, my staff and I are still answering the phone, checking email, and working with state and local agencies every weekday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Without further ado, my legislative updates and resource round-ups are below!


Important Links for COVID-19 Information: 

The Governor's office has launched a website with information and resources throughout the state government. You can visit it HERE

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a website tracking COVID-19 in Wisconsin, including health-related resources from the CDC. This website is updated daily by 2:00 p.m. You can visit it HERE.

The City and County of Racine have launched COVID-19/Coronavirus websites with local information and resources. You can find Racine County’s website HERE, including daily updates from the Joint Information Center. The City of Racine’s website is available HERE

This is a non-exhaustive list of resources and updates --  if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, you can find information for non-medical services online at 211 Wisconsin, dial 211 on your phone, or text your ZIP code to 898211.  

Legislative Updates

Extraordinary Session for COVID-19 Relief

Today, the Wisconsin State Assembly convened our first-ever hybrid virtual/in-person session to pass a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill. The majority of the legislature attended via video call to practice social distancing and avoid spreading COVID-19, while approximately thirty representatives attended in-person with special social distancing seating. 

Today was an important legislative first step in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin. The bill we passed today addressed a number of pressing issues, including:

  • Eliminating the one week waiting period for Unemployment Insurance
  • Securing $2.3 billion in federal COVID-19 resources for our state
  • Banning insurers from discriminating against people who have had COVID-19
  • Giving local governments authority to defer local residential property taxes

I’m glad we were able to begin the process of helping our communities to weather this storm. However, we have much left to do to support Wisconsin’s families, essential workers, and small businesses through this crisis. We cannot rely on short-term solutions to long-term problems.

Today, alongside my Democratic colleagues, I pushed for amendments to include additional policies my constituents asked for from the state, including:

  • Establishing a Vote by Mail system for the remainder of 2020
  • Cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment
  • Increasing assistance for our child care providers and workers as an essential industry
  • Increased insurance coverage for healthcare and essential workers and first responders
  • Allocating additional funding to WEDC to support small businesses
  • Providing more resources to manage our public health and economic challenges

Unfortunately, these policies did not pass today, but I will continue to advocate for these and other policies to support our community in the legislature.

Our state government must do everything possible to keep our communities safe and protect our democracy. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and the health and safety of our most vulnerable neighbors must continue to be our top priority. I am ready to work across the aisle on the additional policies needed to help get our state through this crisis, and I hope we will return to session soon to get this work done.

Next, this bill will go to the Wisconsin State Senate for approval.

You can read the bill’s text and proposed amendments HERE.


Vote by Mail Bill Introduced

Last week, I joined a growing list of co-sponsors on a standalone bill to create a Vote by Mail system for the remainder of Wisconsin’s 2020 elections. 

Mail voting is becoming increasingly popular around the country, including five states that now mail ballots to every voter in their state, and many others that have taken steps to maximize ballot access for voters. Moving to a planned mail-only voting system for the remainder of 2020 would allow Wisconsinites to safely exercise their right to vote and adhere to the Safer at Home order, while allowing our election officials time and resources to safely administer our elections. 

Moving to a Vote by Mail system for the rest of the year will provide voters with a safe way to cast their ballot and provide state and local officials time to plan and execute a safe and secure election. While we are navigating a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that we protect our democracy and the right to vote.

It is critically important that we act to prevent another election like the one we saw on Tuesday. If we don’t act now, people will again face the impossible choice of risking their health or giving up their right to vote during this public health crisis.

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Federal CARES Act Unemployment Updates

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development just announced that applications will open for unemployment under the Federal CARES Act on April 21, 2020. The CARES act expands unemployment benefits to cover self-employed people, contractors, and many other workers not covered under typical Unemployment Insurance.

The central web page for all CARES Act unemployment benefits is available HERE. The page specifically for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is available HERE.

Claimants under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits at the following rates: 

Payment Amount:

    • Minimum weekly benefit amount: $163.
    • Maximum weekly benefit amount: $370.
  • Benefit Amount:
    • 1% of 2019 net income; subject to PUA minimum and maximum.
  • Duration of PUA Benefits (up to 39 weeks):
    • First Payable Week: Retroactive to week ending February 8, 2020 (or the first week an individual is out of work due to COVID-19, whichever is later).
    • Last Payable Week: Week ending December 26, 2020.

The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) will also begin in Wisconsin during the week of April 26, 2020, giving Unemployment claimants an additional $600 per week. This will be added directly into their unemployment benefits without any additional action. These payments will be retroactive to April 4, 2020, and will continue for those receiving unemployment benefits through July 25, 2020. For more information, visit this web page: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/fpuc/.

If you have any other questions or need help with this or any other state government issue, always feel free to reach out! We’re happy to help wherever we can.


Expanded Foodshare Benefits for WI Families

Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced it would increase food benefits for families under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

Families receiving less than the maximum Foodshare benefit for a family of their size will have their benefits automatically increased to the maximum available monthly benefit amount. The additional March benefits will be made available on Quest cards on April 12 and the additional April benefits will be available on April 26.

For more information, visit the DHS website HERE. 

Recaps and Reminders
Racine YMCA Childcare for Essential Workers

The Racine Family YMCA is providing childcare at both the Sealed Air Family YMCA and the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA for children of essential employees, including workers at grocery stores and food production, pharmacies, health care, utilities, shipping, banking, other governmental services, law enforcement and emergency personnel. 

The Y will serve kids from kindergarten through grade 6, ages 5-12. The cost is $30 for members or $45 for the general public, per day. Register online at apm.activecommunities.com/racinefamilyYMCA, and search “Emergency Child Care,” or call Katie Svendsen at 262-898-4558. 

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Red Cross: Blood Donors Needed

The Red Cross needs your help! With the advance of COVID-19, the American Red Cross is seeing a major shortage of blood donations. People who are healthy and feeling well are encouraged to make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible, so we do not have a shortage as our neighbors go to the hospital for COVID-19 and other medical treatment. Please make an appointment by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, or visiting http://RedCrossBlood.org. 

Complete the Census Today!

Have you completed the Census yet? The Census takes place every ten years, and the results impact federal funding for critical programs in Racine and in Wisconsin. The results also impact our representation in Congress and the services our state can receive!

It's quick and easy to respond to the 2020 Census online at my2020census.gov. It took me about five minutes to complete! You don't need to be a citizen -- you just need to be a member of our community. Let's all be counted together.

CDC Recommendation:

Wear Homemade Masks

The CDC now recommends that we wear homemade (not commercial) face masks outside of our homes to slow the spread of COVID-19. These masks are not a replacement for social distancing -- we still need to maintain 6 feet of distance from others whenever possible and leave our homes only for the most essential trips. 

There are a number of ways to make cloth masks for personal use. You can find patterns and how-to instructions HERE for sewn masks, no-sew t-shirt masks, filtered bandanna masks, and more.

Racine County’s Coronavirus homepage also has information for people looking to sew homemade masks to donate to those in need in our community, including first responders and healthcare workers, including a dedicated page that includes a map of drop-off locations and info on how to sew facemasks. 

The State of Wisconsin also has a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) buyback program for professionally manufactured PPE. If you are a business, education institution, or other large organization and have masks, hospital gowns, gloves, and other PPE on-hand, the State of Wisconsin will accept donations or buy back your supplies to help our frontline healthcare workers and first responders. 

If you have Personal Protective Equipment, please consider donating it so we can keep our healthcare workers and first responders safe from COVID-19. You can find out more about this program HERE. www.covid19supplies.wi.gov/donations.

Make Your Own Face Masks!.png 

COVID-19 Aid for Undocumented Workers 

The Racine Interfaith Coalition (RIC) has established Racine Immigrant Support, a mutual aid fund for undocumented workers and their families. This fund was established to help support our undocumented community members through this crisis.

If you are an undocumented member of the Southeast Wisconsin community who needs assistance, please contact Jessica Diaz at (262) 238-3330 or Maria Morales at (262) 234-0652. If you would like to find out more about the fund, you can visit the website HERE.

For a round-up of resources available to Wisconsin immigrants and their families, please Voces de la Frontera’s website HERE

En Espanõl:

Es un tiempo dificil aqui en Racine. Se que muchos de ustedes están luchando para llegar al fin de mes.

Esto es especialmente cierto para los miembros indocumentados de nuestra comunidad. Personas indocumentadas tienen más probabilidad de ser trabajadores en riesgo y no pueden recibir el apoyo del gobierno que el resto del estado va a recibir, incluyendo el cheque de estímulo por parte del congreso.

Si necesita pedir recursos, por favor llamele a Jessica Diaz al (262) 238-3330 o Maria Morales al (262) 234-0652.

Estoy muy agradecida con María, quien me llamó hace unas semanas para comenzar a hablar sobre cómo podemos apoyar a nuestros vecinos indocumentados, y también con la Coalición Interreligiosa Racine (RIC), que se unió de manera importante para coordinar este fondo.

For other resources available to our community, please see last week’s e-update, available HERE.


Thank you for following along through this important update. I will continue to work on your behalf, and I will continue to share information and updates as I have them. Together, we can get through this. 

Please don't hesitate to reach out to my office via email at rep.neubauer@legis.wisconsin.gov or via phone at 888-534-0066. While my legislative office is working remotely, we are here to help between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and we'll do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

In Solidarity,

 2018 NEUBAUER Signature.jpg

Greta Neubauer

State Representative

66th Assembly District


We can all do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Please join me in practicing social distancing as the Safer at Home order takes effect. Let's all stay further away from others in public, and stay home except for essential travel.

Other ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 include:

  • Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Covering coughs & sneezes with an elbow or a disposable tissue.
  • Avoid shaking hands and touching your face or eyes.
  • Regularly cleaning and sanitizing commonly touched surfaces in your home and workplace.
  • Stay home if you are feeling ill, and call your doctor before going in for a visit if you suspect you are sick.