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Website: www.repedming.com

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A Note from Rep. Edming

I appreciate you taking the time to read my e-update this week. Wednesday was National Census Day. Wisconsin is currently in 2nd place, just behind Minnesota, in response rate with 48.4% to 49.9%.  You've likely recently received your census form in the mail. I encourage you to take a few moments to fill out the census. Census submissions help determine the support our local communities receive from the federal government.  For the first time, you can fill out the Census online at 2020census.gov.  This website also has answers to questions about the 2020 Census.

As you can imagine with the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, my office has seen a significant increase in the number of constituent contacts. My staff and I are doing our very best to assist constituents of the 87th Assembly District as quickly as we can.

During this time my physical office in Madison will be closed, but our team at the Legislative Technology Services Bureau has done a great job providing my staff the ability to work from home.  We are still able to receive phone calls and retrieve voicemails and emails, however, our response times may be a bit longer than normal.
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An Update on Unemployment Insurance

This is certainly a tough time for many of us.  Whether you are a business owner who has had to adapt to our current situation or had to shut your doors entirely or an employee who has been forced to work from home or are out of work, life sure is different than just a few short weeks ago.

During this time, many Wisconsinites have found themselves in a position they never thought they would be in, unemployed.  My office has been fielding a lot of questions about the unemployment insurance claims process lately, so I'd like to take a moment to provide some information to you on the current situation with unemployment insurance (UI) at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). 

I've heard from a number of constituents over the past few weeks requesting a waiver of the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. I want to let everyone know that I have recently signed on in support of legislation that will give the Secretary of DWD the authority to suspend the one-week waiting period for UI payments for up to 52 weeks during a state of emergency, such as this. This week, Speaker Vos and Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald publicly stated their support for suspending this waiting period. Click here to listen to the GOP leaders' full press conference from Wednesday on WisconsinEye. I hope to see this piece of proposed legislation acted upon during a special session that may be called to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, if you have called DWD to file for unemployment or for other questions and have not been able to get through, this is because the agency is experiencing incredibly high call volumes and they are doing their best to assist as many people as possible. My office participated in a conference call earlier this week with DWD and they informed us that they are working on cross-training staff from other parts of the department to assist with UI claims.

At this time, DWD is asking for as many people as possible to file for UI online, as this is the quickest and easiest way.  DWD released a video to show people how to file a UI claim online. Click here to view this video. With that said, this isn't always possible, especially in rural areas like ours. If you can't get through to DWD, the agency recommends you wait an hour and call back. If you need additional assistance, please contact my office at rep.edming@legis.wi.gov and my staff or I would be happy to help you out.

As you may be aware, the federal government recently passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package to help combat the virus. Included in that package is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). At this time, DWD is awaiting guidance on the PUA from the federal Department of Labor. The department hopes to have more information to share with Wisconsinites soon. Also, there are some employers providing essential services that are hiring. Please visit JobCenterofWisconsin.com to search for available jobs in your area.

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My Spring Newsletter Has Arrived

Recently, many of you received my 2020 Spring Newsletter in your mailboxes.  In this newsletter, I provide an update on some of the things that I worked on this session, as well as some of the many other legislative accomplishments. Those of you who have already read the newsletter may have noticed that there is no mention of COVID-19. As my spring newsletter had to be sent to print nearly a month ago, the current pandemic situation was not yet an issue in our state.  Also, due to the mailing costs, I was unable to send a newsletter to every household in the district.  However, if you did not receive a newsletter you can click here to read it online on my website.


Request for Poll Workers

After talking with folks around the district, I know there are many who feel that the April 7th Spring Election should be postponed due to a shortage of poll workers around the state and concerns about COVID-19 at the polling places. Unfortunately, at this time, the April 7th Spring Election is going ahead as planned.

Local clerks around the 87th District are looking for folks interested in serving as poll workers on Election Day. If you can, consider signing up to work at the polls, like I will be in the Town of True in Rusk County. Training is fast and easy, plus you can even get paid.

If you are interested, click here to find contact information for your local clerk.


COVID-19 Resources

Support Local Businesses

This is a tough time for many of our small businesses around the 87th District and the rest of the state. If you're looking to help out some of these businesses that are struggling right now, grab some food from one of the many awesome bars and restaurants we have in the area. On Thursday, I ordered some takeout from the J&S Supper Club in Ladysmith, owned and operated by our very own Rusk County Sheriff Jeff Wallace and his wife, Sherry.

Click here for a list of local dining options around the 87th Assembly District that my office and I have compiled and posted to my website. 

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Other Quick Links to COVID-19 Resources

Stay Up to Date

One of the best ways to stay up to date with what is going on in Madison is to sign up for the legislature's notification tracking service. This service allows you to follow legislative activity in Madison. Once you create a free account, you can sign up to receive notifications about specific bills or committees as well as legislative activity pertaining to a subject area (i.e. agriculture, veterans). You can sign up for this service at notify.legis.wisconsin.gov.