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State Capitol Report


Friends and Neighbors,

I’m thinking of our community members in this time of uncertainty and hope this message finds you well. 

There have been several new developments since my last update to you. In this update, I have included additional information on the impact of COVID-19 on our state and community, as well as some helpful resources. 


Due to laws restricting mass communications for state legislators in election years, I will not be able to continue providing these broad e-updates after April 15. For more frequent updates, you can check out my Facebook page, where I am regularly posting resources & updates.


Please feel free to contact my office with any thoughts, questions, ideas, or concerns. I am happy to be a resource for you in whatever you need and look forward to staying in touch.



Katrina sig.png

Katrina Shankland

State Representative

 71st Assembly District




Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update #4

 The health and safety of our community members is of utmost priority, and as COVID-19 has impacted increasing numbers of people here in Wisconsin and throughout the country, I have been keeping a close eye on what the scientists and public health officials are telling us.


With the Easter weekend upon us, I recognize how important it is to be with family and encourage everyone to still follow the guidelines of limiting in-person interactions so we can continue to flatten the curve. Physical distancing from each other doesn't mean we can't spend time together, however. When possible, consider using web apps like Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime to spend time with family and friends.


As of Thursday, April 9, Wisconsin has now seen 2,885 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4 so far in Portage County. We have also seen an increase in testing, and 31,424 negative tests, 843 hospitalizations, and 111 deaths. You can see on DHS' website where cases have been confirmed here


Below, you can find important updates on local, state, and federal responses to our public health emergency, as well as information and resources that may be helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions that you may have.


Looking for the most up to date information and FAQs on COVID-19 in Wisconsin?

 Safer at Home 

Thanks to everyone who has been doing their part to flatten the curve. The Department of Health Services recently announced that flu cases have dropped significantly in two weeks, and your efforts are working to preserve health care resources, limit health care workers' exposure to COVID-19, preserve PPE, and protect the public health.

The governor's Safer at Home order will remain in effect until 8 a.m. on April 24, unless a superseding order is issued. You can see comprehensive FAQs about the order HERE. Clarification questions about a business's essential/non-essential status should be submitted to WEDC

If you are worried about your work environment not implementing adequate social distancing/preventative sanitation measures, then you should contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA's contact information is HERE. Portage County is served by the Appleton area office, which you can reach at (920) 734-4521.


April 7 Post-Election Update

Due to the federal court ruling from last week, the results from the April 7th election will not be available until after 4:00 pm on Monday, April 13. In the meantime, we may see some turnout numbers or estimates, but those should not be interpreted as election results.


Thank you to all our tireless clerks and poll workers who worked around the clock to make this election happen, facing court rulings, hour-by-hour guidance changes, and new safety protocols. I appreciate your service and the tremendous time and energy you devoted to making this election happen.


While I believed we could have moved to a mail-only election and advocated for one for weeks, I am deeply grateful for all of the work and dedication of our election officials and thankful for the voters who rolled with the changes and participated in the in-person voting process.


I have been very disappointed by reports from all over the state of voters who were unable to cast a ballot, often due to never having received one after weeks of waiting, from Oshkosh and Appleton to Fox Point. You can read more HERE. We must do better in the future. No one should have to choose between their right to vote and their health. There are simple and secure ways to enfranchise voters while protecting election integrity.


Update on Federal COVID-19 Relief Legislation

Two weeks ago, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and President Trump signed it into law on March 27. The legislation guarantees free coronavirus testing, establishes paid leave, enhances Unemployment Insurance, expands food security initiatives, and increases federal Medicaid funding. This will remain in effect through the end of this year. You can read more about this legislation HERE.


Last week, Congress also passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and President Trump signed it into law. The CARES Act is a $2.2 trillion package designed to provide relief to American individuals, families, healthcare workers, small businesses, corporations, and state, local, and tribal governmentsAmong many other provisions, this legislation includes direct cash payments to qualifying individuals and makes major changes to unemployment assistance to increase benefits and broaden who is eligible.


According to the IRS, the economic stimulus payments are automatic for most taxpayers. No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees. Individuals who do not typically file taxes but who receive Social Security will receive their cash payments through the IRS. You can read more about this on the IRS' website HERE


If you weren't required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 or $24,400 for married couples, you had no income, or weren't required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return for other reasons, you can go HERE to enter your payment information. If you already receive Social Security benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, or Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits, you do not need to use this application. 


The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text you, email you or contact you on social media  asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.

You can read more about the specific changes made by each portion of the legislation HERE.

Update on the State Legislature

While Governor Evers called us into special session on April 4 to act on postponing in-person voting to a safer date for the public health, state legislative leaders gaveled the session in and out in less than a minute. I have been eager to convene as a legislature and act to support the people of Wisconsin, just as Congress has been doing. This week, the State Assembly conducted a test of the new system so some members can participate virtually, and legislative leaders have said we will be in session next week. I am eager to vote for legislation that will expand access to healthcare resources, support small businesses and families who are struggling, and end the one-week waiting period for unemployment, and I will continue to advocate for it.


Unemployment Resources

If your workplace shuts down due to COVID-19 and you are newly unemployed, you can apply for Unemployment Insurance through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, HERE. 


While self-employed and “gig” workers are not eligible under regular unemployment, they may be eligible under the “Pandemic Unemployment Insurance” in the federal CARES Act (Federal Stimulus Bill). 


If you were not eligible for unemployment before the CARES Act (Federal Stimulus Bill) was passed, the Department of Workforce Development is asking you to wait to file until their system is set up to accept your application. They are incorporating guidance from the Department of Labor and expect the changes to be complete and be able to accept the application in the coming days. They are updating their website with information, and understand how difficult it can be to wait as they work to update their system. Please note that benefits will start from the time you became eligible for unemployment, not from the time your application is submitted or approved. You can check the DWD website often for updates.


Note: Governor Tony Evers has waived the work search requirement for citizens receiving unemployment. That means that if you are filing a weekly benefit claim you do not have to perform four "work search actions" during this public health crisis.


Portage County Economic Recovery

The Portage County Economic Recovery Team is a new partnership between Portage County, the City of Stevens Point, the Village of Plover, the Portage County Business Council, the Plover Area Business Association, CAP Services, the Small Business Development Center, the Stevens Point Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and CREATE Portage County to provide assistance to local businesses. You can see information about the project and links to various resources HERE.


Members of the team and select local leaders will be hosting a virtual meeting for local businesses on the County’s Economic Recovery efforts. The Economic Recovery Briefing will take place on April 13, 2020 at 3:00 pm through Zoom conferencing, and is designed for local businesses to receive important information about the COVID-19 pandemic and the response to the pandemic. 


Participants are encouraged to RSVP for call instructions and can submit questions prior to the meeting by emailing



Resilient Wisconsin 

Governor Evers and the Department of Health Services created a new program last week to help support our communities as we cope with COVID-19. “Resilient Wisconsin” will bring together resources for individuals, businesses, and organizations, and is designed to help us stay resilient in social isolation and cope with trauma, stress, and mental health struggles. Resilient Wisconsin includes support for First Responders, as well as information on how to develop healthy coping mechanisms. For more information, visit the Resilient Wisconsin webpage HERE



Reminder: Federal and State Tax Filing Deadlines Moved to July 15

As a reminder, income tax filing and payment dates have been automatically extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. Wisconsin law will automatically extend time and waive interest and penalties for taxpayers due to a presidentially declared disaster. Tax filers do not have to file any extension forms to be eligible for this new due date, there is no limit on the amount of payment to be postponed, and there are no income exclusions. This applies to individuals, trusts, estates, partnerships, associations, companies or corporations.

You can find further details HERE.



Department of Children and Families (DCF)

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) has created new tools to help connect our essential workforce families with safe and local child care options. DCF has an updated "Child Care Finder" webpage, where you can submit a request for care and proactively view up-to-date availability across the state with their child care map. You can view this here.


In addition, Governor Evers created the Child Care for Essential Workers Task Force, led by the Department of Children and Families. This task force is working with the Early Childhood Association (WECA) and Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) to connect essential workforce families in need of child care with locally available child care resources.


If you are an essential worker who needs child care, please submit your request as soon as possible. DCF uses the data to help child care centers determine whether they should continue operating during Safer at Home to meet local demand. To submit a request for care, click here.


For more information, visit the DCF COVID-19 Child Care webpage here.


Department of Natural Resources Updates

On April 9, Governor Evers announced that 40 state parks and natural areas are closed to the public due to littering, vandalism, and thousands of people using them on the same day or weekend. You can read more about this HERE. Please note that these areas are open to turkey hunters during the season (April 15- May 26) where usually allowed.


State park and forest buildings are closed except for some restrooms, and all state campgrounds are closed through April 30, 2020, and no new camping reservations will be available for dates prior to June 1, 2020. 


If you are going to head out and enjoy Wisconsin’s public lands, DNR is encouraging you to stay as close to home as possible and reminding visitors to practice proper personal hygiene, limit group sizes, and practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 


You can read more about the DNR response to COVID-19 here.


2020 Hunting and Fishing Licenses are now available! Get out and enjoy Wisconsin’s beautiful natural resources by purchasing a 2020 fishing or hunting license. Boat landing fees in state parks and forests are also waived at this time. Please remember to maintain proper hygiene and distancing when fishing and hunting, and try to limit outings to members of your household.


DNR customer service representatives are available 7:00 am - 10:00 pm daily at 1-888-936-7463. You can also purchase licenses online anytime at GoWild.WI.Gov. 


Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry

Gov. Tony Evers announced today that the state is seeking volunteers to support Wisconsin's healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Active and retired healthcare professionals and other individuals who wish to help in non-clinical support positions are encouraged to sign up to volunteer through the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR). 

The number of folks in Wisconsin who will need to be treated for COVID-19 is expected to continue to rise in the coming weeks. Building a network of available volunteers now will greatly reduce the hardships on hospitals and clinics that would not normally have the capacity to care for the increase in patients. 


Special Shopping Hours

Some local stores have set special shopping hours for seniors and folks who are immunocompromised. While this is not a comprehensive list, it's helpful to know for those who may want to especially limit their exposure: 

Metro Market Stores: 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. seven days a week will be set aside for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Walmart: All Walmart stores in the United States are having special hours for customers 60 and older every day from 6:00 – 7:00 am.

Target: All Target stores will reserve the first hour of shopping (8 9 a.m.) on Wednesdays for "vulnerable guests — including elderly and those with underlying health concerns." The company is encouraging others to shop outside of that time.

Dollar General is strongly encouraging shoppers who are not considered high-risk to avoid visiting stores during the first hour of opening (8 a.m. to  9 a.m.), reserving that time for seniors


DON'T FORGET! Get Counted! Fill out the 2020 Census

Take 10 minutes to make sure you and your community get counted by visiting

A complete and accurate 2020 Census ensures that Portage County gets the resources and representation we deserve. For each person counted in the census, our communities get funding for crucial services like health care, transportation, schools, child care, and affordable housing. We need each and every Wisconsinite to count! This includes citizens and noncitizens, newborns, seniors, students, homeowners, renters -- everyone.

Filling out the 2020 Census is safe and your data is protected by strict confidentiality laws. It’s also incredibly convenient. You can fill out the census online (visit, by phone, or on paper. Check your mail for the instructions or visit the U.S. Census Bureau website for more information!  

Thank you for following along. I hope you stay healthy and safe. I appreciate you and our community. Please don't hesitate to reach out if I can help you in any way. All the best!

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