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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

For those of you who observe, I hope that you find ways to have wonderful Passover or Easter celebrations despite having to modify those plans to fit with the Safer at Home guidelines.  These holidays are a good reminder right now of the struggles previous generations have endured during history of humanity and that perseverance leads to better days.

This week you should have received my legislative update.  I hope you will take a moment to review my work this legislative session and then fill out my legislative survey.  You can either complete the survey by filling out it out on your mailed copy or you can from my homepage

I want to remind you that next week begins the Rule of 49 on April 15th. This means starting Wednesday I will no longer be able to send more than 49 pieces of any item to constituents which includes my weekly eUpdates. I am hopeful an exception will be made in the coming days for dispursing COVID-19 information.

In the event an exception is not made, my staff has begun a centralized webpage for COVID-19 information. If you have an suggestions on additions please email my office at rep.subeck@legis.wi.gov.  The work on it has just begun, so more listed information is certain to follow in the coming days.  As always, you will still be able to find information on my Facebook page, so please follow me there if you have not already done so.

This coming Tuesday, the Assembly is anticipated to meet in its first ever virtual session.  Many of the details of this session are still forth coming, but please pay attention to my Facebook page and local news outlets for more information.

Lastly, week's update contains information on recent Vote by Mail legislation that was introduced, the closure of several state parks, and more COVID-19 related news.

If you have any questions or need assistance with any matter, please feel free to contact my office.


Lisa Subeck
State Representative
78th Assembly District

In This Weeks Update:

Vote by Mail Legislation Introduced this Week

DNR Closes Forty State Parks

Unemployment Insurance News

Additional FoodShare Benefits for Wisconsin Families Announced


Trusted COVID-19 Resources

Contact Me:

109 North, State Capitol

P.O. Box 8953

Madison, WI 53708

Phone: (608) 266-7521

Toll-Free: (888) 534-0078

Fax: (608) 282-3690

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Vote by Mail Legislation Introduced This Week

This week I co-sponsored legislation to create a Vote by Mail system for the remainder of Wisconsin’s 2020 elections. Mail voting has become increasingly popular throughout the country, and five states currently maximize ballot access by mailing ballots to every voter. Wisconsin’s “Pandemic Primary” on April 7th unnecessarily put public health and people’s lives at risk while leaving tens of thousands of voters disenfranchised. Vote by Mail legislation would allow Wisconsinites to exercise their right to vote while adhering to the Safer at Home order.

Voting by Mail elections are quickly becoming a national conversation during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Several voting rights groups are pushing for a major expansion of mail balloting, and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, is partnering with Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, on a bill to require every state to provide the option of a mail ballot in the November election.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a large degree of uncertainty, and we must act to protect the health of our communities while preserving our democracy. Moving to a Vote by Mail system for the rest of the year would ensure our state and local officials can plan and execute a safe and secure election.

No one should have to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting themselves and our communities from the spread of COVID-19. With the health and safety of our communities and the fundamental right to vote all on the line, we can and must move quickly to ensure what happened on Tuesday does not happen again.

It is the job of my colleagues and myself to guarantee free and fair elections, and that means ensuring we do not require our citizens to put their health and lives on the line to vote when such risk can be prevented. That is why I am hopeful we will find the bi-partisan support needed to pass this Vote by Mail legislation quickly.

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DNR.jpgDNR Closes Forty State Parks

Due to unprecedented crowds, littering and vandalism, the following Wisconsin State Parks were closed today for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency:

High Cliff State Park

Big Foot Beach State Park, Harrington Beach State Park, Havenwoods State Forest, Kohler-Andrae State Park, Kettle Moraine State Forest Lapham Peak, Loew Lake, Mukwonago River, Northern Unit, Pike Lake, Southern Unit, Lakeshore State Park, and Richard Bong State Recreational Area

Aztalan State Park, Belmont Mound State Park, Blue Mound State Park, Cadiz Springs State Recreational Area, Capital Springs State Recreational Area, Cross Plains State Park, Devil’s Lake State Park, Fenley State Recreational Area, Governor Dodge State Park, Governor Nelson State Park, Lake Kegonsa State Park, Lower Wisconsin Riverway, Mackenzie Center, Mirror Lake State Park, Natural Bridge State Park, Nelson Dewey State Park, New Glarus Woods State Park, Rocky Arbor State Park, Sauk Prairie State Recreational Area, Tower Hill State Park, Wyalusing State Park, and Yellowstone Lake State Park, Gibraltar Rock State Natural Area, Pewits Nest State Natural Area, Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area and Dells of the Wisconsin State Natural Area

The Department of Natural Resources goal is to maintain the safest environment for visitors and staff.

If you’re looking take a break in the outdoors, public health officials are advising you to walk, run, hike and bike in your local neighborhoods and maintain a social distance of 6 feet or more.
Questions? Contact DNR Customer Service.
7 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily

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Unemployment Insurance News

Federal Programs/Benefits

As you know, the federal government has passed several COVID-19 response packages. As part of these developments, some Wisconsinites will be able to access additional unemployment benefits. We are updating our systems and creating the tools necessary to provide these.

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) expects to take applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program the week of April 21, 2020. PUA temporarily expands UI eligibility to those who are otherwise ineligible for state UI benefits, including those who are self-employed, free lancers, independent contractors, and part-time workers impacted by COVID-19. Workers will be eligible for retroactive benefits (as far back as Feb. 2, 2020) and can receive benefits for up to 39 weeks. The PUA benefit amount is calculated as 1% of last year's total income earned, with weekly minimum and maximum benefit rates of $163 and $370, respectively.

The CARES Act also created the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which provides an additional $600 per week through July 31, 2020 to those who are eligible for UI or PUA benefits. Wisconsin hopes to take initial claims the week of April 21, 2020 and start making these payments the week of April 26, 2020.

DWD's website will contain information on these new programs and how and if one needs to apply in order to receive them. DWD continues to update their FAQs list as well.

UI Applications/Call Volume and Benefits Paid

Between March 15 and April 6, 2020, the total number of new applications submitted for unemployment benefits was 313,068, with weekly claims reaching 589,616. The total amount in unemployment benefits distributed equaled $68,759,104.

By comparison, during the same period in 2019, the total number of new applications totaled 17,748, with weekly claims of 155,148. The total amount of unemployment benefits distributed during this period last year was $39,597,111.

DWD's  call volume experienced at our call centers in recent weeks.

  • Week of 3/15 – received 86K calls – answered 68K calls
  • Week of 3/22 – received 1.4M calls – answered 295K calls
  • Week of 3/29 – received 2.8M calls – answered 497K calls
  • Week of 4/5 (incomplete)– received 1.7M calls – answered 336K calls

Currently, those whose calls are being completed are experiencing a wait time of approximately one hour.

DWD Staffing Measures

To handle the record volume of unemployment claims, DWD has taken extensive internal steps to meet the demand. For example:

  • Over 150 unemployment Insurance Division's (UI) employees are working overtime.
  • Trained and transferred 35 employees from another DWD division to assist the UI call center, with an additional 45 being trained for part-time assistance.
  • Recruiting to hire 36 claim specialists.
  • Hiring up to 25 positions to work on manual tasks for claims and 60 limited-term employees to process paperwork.
  • Assigned eight employees to make outgoing calls to applicants whose online applications required contact with DWD staff.
    • Online claimants who were previously instructed to call DWD now receive a message that a claims specialist will call them back within five business days to assist them in completing their initial claim. These claim specialists have cleared more than 1,000 claims since this began on March 27.
  • Successfully recruited UI retirees to return to DWD to help as limited-term employees.

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FoodShareWI.jpgAdditional FoodShare Benefits for Wisconsin Families Announced

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced today that more than 215,000 FoodShare households will be receiving additional benefits. These benefits will help those Wisconsin families stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic..

Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Wisconsin is able to provide FoodShare recipients with the maximum monthly benefit amount, based on the number of people in their household, for two months.

As a result, for March and April, FoodShare households not currently receiving the maximum monthly benefit amount for their family size will receive additional benefits bringing them up to that level. The additional March benefits will be available on QUEST cards on April 12, and the additional April benefits will be available on QUEST cards on April 26. If the COVID-19 emergency extends beyond April, DHS will work with its federal partners on any future opportunities to provide additional emergency allotments.

Households will receive a letter notifying them of the additional benefits. Households already receiving the maximum amount will not receive additional benefits. To view the maximum monthly benefit amount based on the number of people in the household, please see the full DHS press release.

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Department of Health Services COVID-19 Site

Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 Information

Governor Evers's COVID-19 Information Hub

US Department of State Travel Advisories

Dept. of Workforce Development COVID-19 FAQs

World Health Organization (WHO) Corona Virus Info

How to Apply for Unemployment in Wisconsin if You get Laid Off because of Coronavirus

NYT Map of Confirmed Corona Virus Cases

Public Health Dane County & City of Madison

County & Tribal Health Officials