Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you are doing well and finding time to get outdoors. I have been enjoying the weather and filling up my garden. This month we have been in session and in committee. In addition, the Joint Finance Committee is currently deliberating the state budget. 

As always, please contact my office if you have any questions or concerns. Continue reading for updates on the broadband funding, BadgerCare expansion, the budget, the DNR's free fun weekend, and more.


Special Session on BadgerCare Expansion

Governor Evers announced that he is calling the Legislature into special session on Tuesday May 25th regarding BadgerCare expansion. BadgerCare expansion would allow more than 90,000 Wisconsinites to access affordable healthcare. Doing this would also draw down federal dollars that Wisconsin sends to DC. 38 other states have done this, and it’s time for us to join them.

Included in the special session bill are provisions to put those federal dollars directly into communities across the state. From broadband expansion to investing in our transportation systems, our state will be better for it. Unfortunately, my colleagues in the majority are seemingly opposed to this expansion and subsequent investments.

On May 6th the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted on party lines to remove the budget provision to expand BadgerCare. I believe that the $1.6 billion that our state would save over the next biennium is a valid reason to expand BadgerCare in Wisconsin. Another is that in states where the expansion is taken, rural hospitals are less likely to close

There are many reasons to expand access to affordable healthcare. I am disappointed by legislative leadership’s actions to date, but I am hopeful that we can come to a consensus on this common-sense issue.

Broadband Expansion

Governor Evers and the Public Service Commission announced that $100 million of the funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be used to expand broadband in Wisconsin. This investment is the single largest investment in broadband that our state has ever seen. I have heard from many of you about the difficulties you have faced due to poor internet connection. I have experienced this too. That is why I am heartened by this investment in our communities. These funds will be used in a similar way to the Broadband Expansion Grant Program in place as grants will be awarded to companies who upgrade broadband in unserved and underserved areas. 

Read the full announcement HERE.

Source: Governor Evers

DOJ and DATCP Launch Lawsuit

This week Wisconsin's Attorney General Josh Kaul and the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) joined 5 other states and counties in a lawsuit against Frontier Communications. This lawsuit specifically alleges that the company did not provide consumers with the internet service it promised them in their contracts. As many of you know, Frontier serves some homes in the 81st district. I encourage you to stay up to date on this if you believe you are an effected party. For more, click HERE


Small Business Grants

Governor Evers has directed $420 million of ARPA funds to small business recovery grants. Applications opened this morning at 8:00AM and will close at 4:30PM on Monday, June 7.

The Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grant program is run through the Department of Revenue (DOR) with assistance from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Businesses may be eligible if they have annual gross revenue between $10,000 and $7 million.
For more information on how this program will help Wisconsin bounce back better from COVID-19, click HERE.
Co-sponsor of Fair Maps Legislation

Recently, the Joint Finance Committee voted on party lines to remove the provision from Governor Evers' proposed budget that called for fair nonpartisan redistricting of Wisconsin's legislative maps. In response, my colleagues introduced LRB 0756/1 which would require that the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau draw the legislative map based upon standards listed in the bill and establish a Redistricting Advisory Commission. I co-sponsored this bill because I believe that people should choose their politicians, not the other way around.

See the full bill HERE.

Photo from Fair Maps Rally on May 17th

Work Search Requirement Reinstated

On May 19th, the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) voted on party lines to reinstate the work search requirement for individuals receiving some form of unemployment insurance. The work search requirement went back into effect on Sunday May 23rd. This requirement went back into place seven weeks earlier than originally planned. I encourage anyone who is receiving unemployment benefits to read this helpful article on how to comply with work search requirements.

If you are experiencing issues with the unemployment benefits system, please feel free to email my office at or call us at (608) 266-7746.

Wisconsin State Budget Update

As I mentioned above, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted on party lines on May 6th to remove nearly 400 provisions from Governor Evers budget. These provisions include significant policy and fiscal proposals including BadgerCare expansion, PFAS related provisions, juvenile justice system improvements, vapor and nicotine related provisions, eliminating copayments for prescription drugs, repealing the right to work law, and more. The removal of these items means that any attempt to reintroduce these proposals in the budget process can be considered out of order by the chair of the committee.

JFC also voted on party lines that day to start budget deliberations at the base budget which means that they will start from the final 2019-21 Biennial Budget. JFC is now holding weekly meetings with each based around different state agency's budget such as Department of Public Instruction and Department of Natural Resources. During these meetings, committee members decide what to include in the 2021-23 Biennial Budget. Moving forward, I will continue to advocate for the provisions that you have advocated for such as BadgerCare expansion, clean water initiatives, the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund, and affordable prescriptions.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update 

As of May 13th, Wisconsinites ages 12-15 can receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Studies have shown that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective for this age group. You can find places that are offering the Pfizer vaccine at

Source: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

As of May 23rd, 5,044,653 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Wisconsin and 46.8% of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose, with 40.9% fully vaccinated!

State of the Tribes

On May 11th President John Johnson Sr. of Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians delivered the 17th annual Wisconsin State of the Tribes address in the Assembly Chambers. Following the address, the Wisconsin State Assembly convened to debate and pass dozens of bills. 

Read my full statement on this topic HERE.

May is Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month. We must take this opportunity to celebrate the history of APIDA communities and the ongoing contributions they provide. We must also recognize the challenges that the APIDA community continues to face - including hate and bigotry.
My colleague Rep. Francesca Hong has worked hard to put together a series of conversations centered on APIDA Wisconsinites that stretch throughout the month. The final event is on Wednesday May 26th regarding APIDA small business. For more information visit Rep. Hong's Facebook page HERE.


DNR Update
On Saturday June 5th and Sunday June 6th the Department of Natural Resources will be holding their 9th annual Free Fun Weekend. All park admission fees, fishing license requirements and trail passes will be waived for the weekend. I encourage you to get out and enjoy our state's beautiful parks without the fee.
For more information, click HERE.
In addition, the results from the statewide 2021 Conservation Congress are now available HERE. Despite being virtual again this year, these results are helpful and can help inform our priorities for the coming year.

During these uncertain times, you may not know where to look for assistance. You can call 211 for assistance on many topic such as paying your bills, mental health resources, and more. 211 is a resource managed by the United Way of Wisconsin. Call 2-1-1 or visit their website.

Office of Crime Victim Services

End Abuse Wisconsin 

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233, text LOVEIS to 22522, or go to for free and confidential support.

Disaster Distress Hotline 

Coping Resources for Kids and Parents Amidst COVID-19 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Veterans Crisis Line 

Vets for Warriors 

Military One Source 

Resilient Wisconsin

Department of Corrections Helpline: The call center can be reached by members of the public Monday through Friday from 7:45am–4:30pm at (608) 240-5700.

Wisconsin Farm Center 

24/7 Farmer Wellness Hotline

LGBTQ Crisis Line 

HopeLine Text Service 

Wisconsin Elder Abuse Hotline 

Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline 

I encourage you to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns during this time. It is important to me to hear from you on issues at the state level.