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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.

For more frequent updates, you can check out my Facebook page, which has information from community partners and organizations, as well as real-time updates from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. 

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



I still have plenty of 2019-20 state highway maps & Wisconsin Blue Books available for free. Please click here to request either or both! 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

I have been in daily contact with Governor Evers, state agencies, and other legislative offices and am listening carefully to what our scientists and public health officials are telling us as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Wisconsin and the country.

Wisconsin has now seen 585  confirmed cases of COVID-19, including one in Wood County. We also have now unfortunately seen the first few COVID-19 related deaths in Wisconsin.

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?

  IMPORTANT: Safer at Home Order Aimed at Slowing the Spread of COVID-19 Goes Into Effect Today (3/25) 

Governor Evers announced the "Safer at Home" order earlier this week. The order went into effect TODAY (Wednesday, March 25), and will remain in effect for 30 days. You can read the full text of the order HERE.


This measure is being taken to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. According to the Department of Health Services, without this order, more than 20,000 people in Wisconsin could contract coronavirus and 1,000 people could die within two weeks. By April 8, the number of cases could multiply by 50, unless we work together to slow the spread by following this emergency order. Because of how contagious the virus is, even when people have not yet displayed symptoms, limiting the interaction of people is crucial. If too many individuals require medical attention at the same time, our hospitals will become overwhelmed and their ability to effectively treat patients will be compromised. We must also be mindful of our front-line health care workers and first responders' health. Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread.


Here are a few key things to know about the Safer at Home order: 

  • You will not need special permission or documentation to leave your home, but you must comply with the order as to when it is permissible to leave home

  • People are still able to go out to obtain necessary services or supplies, like to grocery stores and pharmacies or to see a doctor (call first!)

  • People are still able to go outside to exercise or walk their dogs

  • People can still care for family members, seniors, minors, dependents, and other vulnerable persons in other households if necessary

  • Restaurants will still be able to provide curbside takeout and delivery service

  • No sleepovers, no playdates, and no dinner parties with friends and neighbors

  • All playgrounds are closed until further notice

  • If a business is an Essential Business or Operation as defined in the order, it does not need documentation or certification to continue its work that is done in compliance with the order

  • State parks and trails will remain open, and park fees are being waived.  Visitors are reminded to maintain social distancing.  

I strongly encourage businesses to read the order before contacting my office with questions. In the exceptional circumstance that a business is performing essential functions not already covered by the order, they should click HERE to review Wisconsin Economic Development Council (WEDC) resources and determine whether to make a request to be designated as essential. WEDC will evaluate any such requests and will make final determinations.

You can also see a comprehensive list of FAQs regarding the order HERE



Families First Coronavirus Response Act Signed Into Law

Last week, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and President Trump signed it into law. The legislation guarantees free coronavirus testing, establishes paid leave, enhances Unemployment Insurance, expands food security initiatives, and increases federal Medicaid funding. It will go into effect on April 2, 2020 and will remain in effect through the end of this year. You can read more about the specific changes made by each portion of the legislation HERE.



Federal and State Tax Filing Deadlines Moved to July 15

Income tax payment and return due dates have been automatically extended 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.

Online Voter Registration Deadline Extended Through March 30

With our spring primary election just around the corner on April 7th, it’s important to have a plan to vote. If you are concerned about appearing in person, you can have your ballot mailed to you at home or vote in-person during early voting hours instead of on the day of the election.


Last week, a federal judge granted an extension to Wisconsin's deadline for electronic voter registration through March 30. You can check your registration status, register to vote, and request an absentee ballot at myvote.wi.govPlease note you will need to provide a photo of your ID when requesting an absentee ballot, and you will need a witness to sign your absentee ballot before mailing it back. The deadline to request a mail-in absentee ballot is still April 2, 2020.


 What To Do If You Feel Sick: Call Your Physician

If you are experiencing symptoms, please call your physician. If you do not currently have a physician, consider using Marshfield Clinic's online screening tool,  Aspirus' COVID-19 call center, or Ascension's 24/7 COVIID-19 hotline at 1-833-981-0711. Some insurance companies and health care providers also offer virtual visits. It's important that you call ahead before seeking treatment.  More information from the CDC here



Why Stay Home, Even If You're Healthy?

As case numbers rise throughout Wisconsin and the nation, we all can do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19. 


Why is this important? The shutdowns and closures we have seen may feel extreme, but they are necessary to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Because COVID-19 is highly contagious and can be spread by people who are not showing any symptoms, it is critical that we all limit our interaction with others.


Preliminary evidence shows that COVID-19 can have severe negative impacts on older individuals, people with weakened immune systems, and people with underlying health conditions. In addition, we don’t have enough health care resources, like ventilators, hospital beds, and health care workers, if everyone gets sick at the same time.


By staying home and practicing social distancing, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 to those individuals, and prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by patients who need the most attention. This way, we can support our healthcare workers and help to ensure our most vulnerable members can get the resources they need if they must seek medical care.


Some might ask, “But I’m healthy and I probably won’t need medical care, so why do I have to participate?” Social distancing considers the health and well-being of everyone and helps our fellow community members thrive. You can read more about social distancing and flattening the pandemic curve to save lives here and here.


If as many of us practice social distancing as possible, we can slow the transmission of the virus to ourselves, to our vulnerable neighbors, and to the people who must work outside of their homes, like healthcare workers. I know that this is a challenge for many of us –  I understand how frustrating this can be. However, if you are able to stay home, please do so. This is the time to come together in spirit, rather than personally.


Unemployment Resources

If your workplace shuts down due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The department has asked that folks apply online if at all possible, but will also have staff available to help via phone or mail if that is not possible.You can find more information and apply HERE


 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.


Internet & Utility Access

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to cease disconnecting residential service for nonpayment until the state public health emergency has been lifted. Additionally, utilities must make reasonable attempts to reconnect service to homes that have been disconnected. You can learn more HERE.

Spectrum will offer free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. To enroll, call 844-488-8395. Charter will also open its Wi-Fi hotspots across their footprint for public use.

TDS will be offering broadband access to low-income individuals and families with children and college students for 60 days. This offer is for new customers in communities were TDS provides service. To verify eligibility for this offer, residents will be asked to provide documentation from qualifying programs. For more information, please call 1-888-287-8156.

AT&T home internet customers will be allowed to use unlimited data. In addition, AT&T will not terminate the service of any broadband residential or small business customer, will waive late fees, and will keep public hotspots open. 



Resources for Small Businesses

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has developed some resources for small businesses to address strategies and resources that may be available to them. See their COVID-19 response landing page HERE and further resources HERE and below.

Small Business Administration Disaster Loans

If you are a small business that has been impacted by the COVID-19, please consider applying for an SBA disaster loan. 

A disaster declaration for economic injury related to the COVID-19 pandemic was submitted to the US Small Business Administration (SBA) by Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin’s Governor’s Office last week. It was accepted by SBA and took effect on Friday, March 20. As of now, a portal is open on the SBA’s website that allows business owners who have been economically injured by the COVID-19 emergency to apply for working capital loans. To access that portal and apply for loans, business-owners should go here:

The SBA disaster assistance loans are:

  • for up to $2 million;
  • for businesses under 500 employees;
  • low-interest (2.75-3.75%), long-term (15-30 year) loans;
  • available and funded 21 days after a completed application is submitted.

For an FAQ and more information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, visit this link. here:   


General information about SBA disaster assistance loans can be found here: You or businesses in your district can also reach out to your regional WEDC economic development director for more details. Portage County is in Region 4.


WEDC Small Business 20/20 

On March 18, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announced the creation of a program to provide grants to targeted businesses throughout the state. The new program, known as Small Business 20/20 (SB20/20), has been approved for $5 million in funding. SB20/20 will provide grants of up to $20,000 to targeted businesses with no more than 20 employees to cover rent and to meet payroll expenses such as paid leave -- including sick, family, and other leave related to COVID-19. 

The program will provide funds to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to make grants to existing loan clients to mitigate short-term cash flow issues and protect jobs and public health in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Applications for business assistance will be processed with the CDFIs. More information about the program is available here. I am aware that this program does not currently help businesses that don’t already have a loan from a CDFI, and I am pushing to expand eligibility for this or similar programs. 



Be cautious about who may be trying to take advantage of you during this public health emergency. 

  • Beware of phishing email, phone calls, and texts that request personal information from you. 
  • Be wary of claims of cures. Instead, always verify with the Department of Health Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • Report possible scams to the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection at or (800) 422-7128.


Information on Price Gouging 

Attorney General Josh Kaul issued a statement earlier this week, urging Wisconsin residents to be on the lookout for price gouging. 

Price gouging generally prohibits any wholesaler or retailer from selling consumer goods or services at prices that are more than 15% higher than pre-emergency prices. There are, however, some exceptions to the prohibition. If you suspect that price gouging may be occurring, report your concerns to DATCP at, through their toll-free hotline at (800) 422-7128, or online HERE.


Department of Motor Vehicles  

The DMV has also announced that all driver licenses and Commercial Driver Licenses (CDLs) that expire during this public health emergency will be automatically extended 60 days and all late fees will be waived. Affected driver records visible to law enforcement will show the 60 day extension and that the driver license is valid. For more information about any of these changes, you may click here

The majority of DMV services can be done online, including renewing platestitling or registering vehiclesgetting replacement stickers, ordering duplicate driver licenses or IDs if your IDs has been lost or stolen, and changing your address


Additional COVID-19 Resources & Ways To Help

  • This can a stressful time. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or scared, please feel free to call Distressline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746


  • If you are struggling with bills or need resources, please call 211


  • The Stevens Point Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is keeping a regularly updated list of changes to local businesses, attractions, and events here


  • Students who need school-provided meals, regardless of where they attend school, will still have access to those services through local schools (except for during spring break) and the Boys & Girls Club of Portage County


  • Central Transportation in the Stevens Point area will continue to operate all regular city bus routes and paratransit service fare free during the public health emergency


Ways to Support Our Community Members

United Way of Portage County and the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin have partnered to establish the Portage County COVID-19 Relief Fund (PCCRF). The fund will provide flexible resources to organizations assisting individuals who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak.

United Way of Portage County and the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin have each contributed $20,000 to launch this fund. Community members are encouraged to join this effort by donating online at . Checks can be mailed to United Way of Portage County at 1100 Centerpoint Drive #302 (ATTN: PCCRF), Stevens Point, WI 54481.

100% of money raised through the relief fund will be used to assist local community members with critical needs resulting from fallout due to the coronavirus. Stakeholder and community needs continue to be assessed to determine a transparent, timely process for relief fund distribution.



Volunteer Opportunities 

To connect potential volunteers and organizations addressing these pressing concerns, the United Way of Wisconsin, Serve Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Volunteer Coordinators Association created the COVID-19 Response Initiative on the Volunteer Wisconsin website. 


For more local opportunities to help, visit the United Way of Portage County website.


Donate Blood If You're Able

The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage and donors are urgently needed. Blood drive cancellations are happening at an unprecedented rate and inventory is at critical levels.  If you are healthy and can donate blood, call 1-800-Red-Cross or go to to find a blood donation location closest to you. 


Ascension accepting donations for protective equipment

Ascension Wisconsin is asking for donations for personal protective equipment, including Ascension St. Michael's Hospital in Stevens Point.

Supplies being requested for donation are: 

  • Isolation Gowns
  • Earloop or Tie Masks
  • N95 Respirators
  • Hand Sanitizers 
  • Faceshields
  • Surface disinfectants 
  • Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR)
  • Controlled Air Purifying Respirators (CAPR)
  • Other approved PPE supplies advised by the CDC

Companies or anyone interested should email Ascension Wisconsin's Foundation partners at The donation will be picked up and delivered to the Ascension location.


Support Local Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has been exceptionally difficult for local businesses. I encourage those who can support our local businesses and restaurants to do so at this time. Here are some ways you can help out small businesses in our community: 

  • Purchase gift cards to local restaurants to use at a later date. 
  • Order delivery or takeout where possible. 
  • Visit the websites of your favorite local businesses. Many are offering discounts or telling their customers how they can support them. Other businesses are offering services remotely or shipping merchandise to their customers. 
  • If you're online shopping, seek out local businesses to make these purchases.

Every dollar means a lot right now, so please do whatever you can to help support our local community. 

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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