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A Note from Rep. Edming

Thank you for taking a few moments to read this edition of my e-update. There was quite a bit going on this week in Madison, and I look forward to sharing with you a bit about what is going on down at the State Capitol. A number of legislative proposals received a hearing this week including legislation I helped bring forward to provide a much-needed boost to broadband expansion efforts in our state. In addition, a package of bills I have been working on with some of my legislative colleagues to remove government red tape on summer camps took a step forward this week. You can read more about this and more below.

Going Bold on Broadband Expansion

Last week, I shared with you Assembly Republicans' priorities for the $3.2 billion in state discretionary funds our state will be receiving from the federal government as a part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This week, a number of bills addressing how this funding should be spent received hearings in the legislature including Assembly Bill (AB) 239 that I brought forward with Representative Rob Summerfield and several other colleagues. This important proposal goes bold on broadband expansion efforts by investing $500 million of the federal ARPA funds in our state's broadband expansion grant program. While Governor Evers said he would use a portion of the funds for broadband expansion, this one-time influx of federal dollars is an opportunity to go bold to address a critical need in many rural parts of our state.

Throughout my time in the legislature, one of the most common concerns I hear about from constituents is the need for improved broadband access. This need became even clearer over the last year as many Wisconsinites were forced to work or learn from home. When schools closed last spring, I heard from a number of parents that their children were struggling with remote learning due to the lack of reliable internet access.

AB 239 was recommended for passage by the Committee on Rural Development and is scheduled to be considered by the full State Assembly next week. I am excited to support this important and much-needed legislation and hope to see it continue to move forward in the days ahead. If you would like to read my committee testimony you can click here.


Summer Camp Regulatory Reform Package Advances

A few weeks ago I discussed the Summer Camp Regulatory Reform Package that I brought forward with some of my legislative colleagues. This package of legislation is aimed at getting government red tape out of the way of summer camps in Wisconsin which will allow them to be more competitive with camps in other states. Summer camps are a historic part of Wisconsin tradition and economy. A recent study showed that camps have over a $700 million economic impact in Wisconsin each year.

This week, I had the opportunity to testify before the Assembly Committee on Rural Development in support of the bill I authored in this package, Assembly Bill (AB) 159. This legislation reforms the licensing process for camp doctors to make it easier for out-of-state physicians to serve as camp doctors here in Wisconsin. To learn more about this bill you can click here to read my testimony.

I am pleased to report that AB 159 as well as the other two bills in the Summer Camp Regulatory Reform Package, AB 155 and AB 166 were voted unanimously out of committee on Thursday and now advance to the full Assembly. In addition, the Senate version of these proposals SB 168, SB 169, and SB 171 were also recently voted unanimously out of committee in the Senate. I hope to see this important package considered by the full Assembly and Senate soon.

Quarterly Review of PUA and PEUC Claims 

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced earlier this week that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) claimants may see an issue "Under Review" in your portal this week. According to the department, at the start of each calendar quarter, federal law requires DWD to check whether federal program recipients qualify for regular UI. This quarterly check requires manual review and can take a few weeks to complete. DWD said that if this applies to you, please continue filing your weekly claims. You can find more information on the available unemployment benefits at dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/.

Thank You Barry!

Earlier this week, University of Wisconsin legend, Barry Alvarez announced his retirement as the athletic director. He has been a part of Wisconsin athletics since 1990 and is credited with revitalizing the Badger football program. Alvarez has served as the athletic director since 2004 and will be retiring at the end of June. Wisconsin is grateful for his decades of dedication to shaping successful student-athletes and to Badger athletics. Thank you Coach Alvarez for everything you did for our students and Wisconsin!

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.

If you subscribed to this service over the past couple of years you will need to resubscribe to proposals, committees, and authors for the new legislative session.