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State Capitol Report

Friends and Neighbors,

I am constantly thinking of our community members, and I hope this message finds you and yours well. 

Since my last update, many new programs and resources have been announced to help individuals and businesses who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this e-update, I have included information on these and other state and local updates related to COVID-19.

Wisconsin state law restricts the mass communications that legislators who are running for re-election can send in even years. 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 exempted communications related to the COVID-19 public health emergency through June 10, but I will not be able to provide additional e-updates like this one until after the November election.

You are always more than welcome to reach out to my office via phone or email with any questions, ideas, or concerns you may have, and you can find more frequent updates on my Facebook page, as well as the resource pages highlighted below.

Thank you for following along and for all you are doing to help our community stay strong!



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Katrina Shankland

State Representative

71st Assembly District




Coronavirus (COVID-19) Relief Resources & Updates

Each week, I participate in a number of meetings with local, state, and federal officials.I have continued to keep in regular contact with the governor's office, state agencies, and local community organizations and partners. I am listening carefully to what scientists and public health officials are telling us about COVID-19.

As of today, Wisconsin has seen 21,308 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 661 deaths. Portage County has seen 39 confirmed cases, and thankfully no deaths so far. 

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has issued industry-specific guidelines for a safe reopening, which you can find here. Portage County Health & Human Services also issued Portage County Order #1 with guidelines for our area, which you can find here.

Since Portage County cases continue to grow, I highly encourage everyone to continue to follow the guidelines set by public health experts to help protect ourselves and each other, including washing hands often and practicing social distancing. 

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

  Unemployment Assistance Related to COVID-19

Have you lost your job as a result of COVID-19? Please visit to apply or click here for FAQs

Are you self-employed, an independent contractor, or not eligible for regular UI? Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance by visiting or click here for FAQs 

The Department of Workforce Development has added hundreds of staff in addition to two new call centers to manage the many applications flowing in each week. You can learn about DWD’s expanded efforts HERE

Due to the volume of unemployment insurance applicants, my office has fielded many calls and emails regarding unemployment insurance claims. I have requested that the Department of Workforce Development do everything possible to expedite the oldest claims first and have spoken with the Secretary of the department to ensure this happens. My office is working to advocate for constituents' claims and is doing everything possible to expedite the process. 

If you are having trouble accessing your benefits, and would like my office to assist you, please reach out to us at (608) 267-9649 or

Legislative Action on COVID-19

I greatly appreciate the many programs to provide assistance to those who are struggling with the effects of COVID-19, and the efforts being made on the local, state, and federal levels to support folks through these difficult times. However, I also recognize the magnitude of the problems we are facing together, and acknowledge that the work in front of us is far from over.

It is the responsibility of public policymakers to put the health, safety, and well-being of our communities and state first, and while we took a strong step forward together with the COVID-19 relief legislation we passed in April (you can read my column summarizing that legislation here), there is so much more we can do.

This week, I signed on to a bipartisan bill to double the amount of financial support for our small businesses affected by the pandemic. In addition to reaching across the aisle to support our local businesses, I will continue to look for ways to support our community.

Last week, University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross requested that the Wisconsin Legislature convene a special session to respond to the urgent financial and planning needs of the UW System that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. I support the call for us to convene because I support UW-Stevens Point and the many ways it contributes to our local economy and community, and you can read my full response here.

This is just one of many issue areas we should be coming together to address. The Legislature must continue working together on additional ways to make a meaningful difference for the people of Wisconsin. The stakes are too high to not take further action, and I stand ready to do all that is needed to insulate our community and state from the most damaging effects of COVID-19.

 Governor Evers Announces New Relief Programs Using Federal CARES Act Dollars 

Utilizing federal funds from the CARES Act, Governor Evers recently announced a number of new programs to help support Wisconsinites who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read my column about these new programs here, and can find more information on these new programs below:


$25 million Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) in partnership with CAP Services:

  • Up to $3000 over three months in rental payments and/or security deposits for Wisconsin tenants who have experienced income loss as a result of COVID-19
  • More information and applications available NOW. Click here for more details.


$75 million We’re All In Small Business Grant Program, administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC):

  • $2,500 in grants to Wisconsin small businesses to assist with the costs of business interruption related to COVID-19 or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages and inventory.
  • Eligible businesses must: be a Wisconsin-based, for-profit business; employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including the owner; earn greater than $0 but less than $1 million in annual revenues; and have started operating prior to Jan. 1, 2020, and have been in business as of Feb. 2020. 
  • Online applications will be open for one week from 8 a.m. Monday, June 15, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 21 on this page.


$50 million Wisconsin Farm Support Program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and Department of Revenue (DOR)

  • Direct payments to farmers that suffered economic damages this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further information on eligibility and FAQs here.
  • Apply online or by calling by calling (608) 266-2772 between 7:00 a.m. on June 15 and 11:59 p.m. on June 29 (application not yet available)
  • Funds will begin to be disbursed July 15


$15 million Food Security Initiative in support for food banks, pantries, and other food businesses that have faced hurdles in adjusting to the pandemic


$200 million in Routes to Recovery: Local Government Aid Grants, to counties, cities, villages, towns, and tribes to help reimburse them for unbudgeted expenditures incurred because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local governments were allocated grants per a formula that accounted for each jurisdiction's population, while ensuring every unit of government received at minimum $5,000.

You can see how much each unit of local government was allocated here.


$100 million to help support expenses directly related to COVID-19 for emergency medical services, home and community-based services, and long-term care providers like nursing and assisted living facilities. This program will be administered in two parts, with an initial release of funds to support immediate needs and a second, targeted release to address additional needs of individual providers.


$1 billion to support COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, acquisition of needed supplies, emergency operations, and other resources for local communities throughout Wisconsin.


$2 million Ethnic Minority Emergency Grant Initiative to support existing, new and expanding minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses in the state of Wisconsin (applications now closed). 

 Additional State & Federal Grant & Loan Programs


The USDA COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide is a great compilation of funding opportunities from stimulus bills and other federal resources for for-profit businesses, agricultural producers and ranchers, government entities, nonprofits, cooperatives, individuals/households, hospitals, and tribes/tribal orgs.

The state Department of Revenue has compiled a list of tax extensions and other resources related to COVID-19 here.


For Small Businesses:

In addition to the new We're All In $2500 grants for small businesses, there is an abundance of information available on reopening guidelines for businesses, grants and loan opportunities, and state and federal relief programs available on the WEDC website.

The Small Business Administration website is also a great resource for grants and loan opportunities, including the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

The Portage County Economic Recovery website has a variety of information available on state and local guidelines and resources.

The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) is offering loans and lines of collateral for existing businesses looking for financing during COVID-19 through June 30, 2020. See more here.

The Hmong WI Chamber of Commerce has established a COVID-19 Emergency Loan Fund to provide $5000- $10,000 loans for low to moderate-income or minority-owned businesses. See more here

CAP Services microloan programs

Central Wisconsin Economic Development Fund (CWED) microloan program

Kiva US 0% interest small business loans


For Farmers:

In addition to the Wisconsin Farm Support Program and the USDA Rural Resource Guide, the following resources may be helpful:


The USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to U.S. farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID-19. Producers can apply now, and more information can be found here:


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL): The SBA is accepting new EIDL and EIDL Advance applications on a limited basis only for agricultural businesses. More information available here.


Agricultural producers that are not eligible for regular USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under the USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Program (loan guarantees to rural businesses and agricultural producers)


Funding for Child Care Providers: 

$51.6 million in CARES Act funding administered by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) for the following purposes:

  • Providing funding for child care providers that have stayed open in order to serve children of essential workers during the pandemic

  • Providing hazard pay for these child care workers.

  • Providing funding for child care providers that have been forced to close during the pandemic, so there are enough child care providers for working families. 

  • Applications open now 

  • Application and more information for providers at


Funding for Public Schools:

$174 million of federal CARES Act funds distributed by the Department of Public Instruction in the following manner:

  • 90% ($157.3 million) must be distributed to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) based on their 2020 Title 1 Part A allocations which can be found here.  This allocation is based on the number and percentage of children from low-income families, and funding must be used for preparedness and response efforts, sanitation and distance learning/on-line instruction.
  • 10% ($17,477,800) will be put in a “set aside” to be distributed by DPI to ensure that each LEA receives a minimum level of support, build capacity and expand access to high quality online instructional resources, provide training to educators on remote and on-line learning, and expand and build staff capacity for student mental health service


For Artists and Art Organizations:

The National Endowment of the Arts is keeping a resource page of organizations that are providing frequently updated news and resources for artists and arts organizations. See more here.


For Nonprofits and Community Organizations

The National Council of Nonprofits has a page dedicated to COVID-19 related information and resources, which you can find here.

The Otto Bremer Trust Fund has established an emergency fund to provide financial support to Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Montana nonprofits and other community organizations. More information available here. 


 If you are looking for information or help for your business and none of the above resources fit your circumstances, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office for further assistance.

State Parks Update

With summer in full swing, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that state campgrounds will reopen on Wednesday, June 10 with some restrictions.

Visitors are reminded to practice social distancing, refrain from congregating in large groups, travel only within their home communities, and follow all existing state park rules and guidelines. The DNR is also encouraging visitors to wear masks in situations wherever physical distancing may be difficult.

The campground operational modifications include:

  • Camping reservations will be accepted by phone (1-888-947-2757) and online only.
  • Check-in is no longer necessary at the office or visitor station when coming to a property. Property staff will visit sites to monitor occupancy.
  • Group camping, shelters, and amphitheaters will remain closed through June 30.
  • All other facilities will remain closed, including towers, shelters, playgrounds, nature centers, headquarters, contact stations, and concessions.
  • Equipment rentals are unavailable at this time.
  • Firewood is not available at this time.

You can read more about these changes on the DNR website HERE.

Additional Resources 

  • This is a highly stressful time for many of us. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or scared, please feel free to call Distressline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 
  • Visit the Resilient Wisconsin homepage for additional resources and tips for practicing self-care, staying connected, and reducing stress
  • For information from the Internal Revenue Service on Economic Impact Payments, click here.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recently increased the income threshold for households to qualify for food assistance through the Emergency Food Assistance Program from $23,606 to $38,280 for a household of one. See here for more details.
  • If you are struggling with bills or need resources, please dial 2-1-1 or visit 211 Wisconsin's webpage
  • Always feel free to reach out to my office at (608) 267- 9649 or if there are any additional ways we can be of service

Thank you for following along. I hope you and yours stay healthy and safe!

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