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  • Back to Business Hearing
  • COVID-19 Funding Requests
  • State Parks
  • Legislative Office


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Back to Business Informational Hearing

Yesterday, the Assembly Committee on State Affairs met to discuss the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak and Safer at Home order.

Invited speakers included WEDC CEO and Secretary Missy Hughes, local business owners, and officials from the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce to discuss their “Back to Business” plan.

As the Governor's Safer at Home order continues, the economic outlook for many small businesses becomes more dire. It is important that we continue to support our local businesses through this tough time to ensure they are there on the other side.

According to this article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, “if current economic conditions persist for more than three months, 35% of Wisconsin businesses responding to a survey said they will have to close their doors.”

You can watch a recording of the hearing here.

JFC Considers COVID-19 Funding Requests

This week two state agencies submitted plans to the Joint Committee on Finance, which I co-Chair, for using federal funds from the CARES Act. The Committee’s role is to review the plans and either approve or amend the plans before the agencies may implement them. 

DPI Request

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) submitted a plan for allocating nearly $175 million to every public school and to improve virtual education offerings in K-12 schools. The CARES Act requires 90% of this funding to be distributed according to a formula established under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This formula directs funds to school districts based on the number of proportion of low-income students in a school district. 

DPI plans to use the remaining 10% to fund initiatives to train teachers on virtual education and to increase the number of courses that are offered virtually. DPI believes this will better prepare K-12 schools to provide increased virtual education offerings whether that is due to COVID-19 or another reason students may not be able to physically attend school, like a snow day.

A portion of funds will also be directed to increasing mental health services for students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, DPI plans to retain about $500,000 for administrative purposes.

You can read this request here.

DCF Request

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) submitted a plan for allocating over $51 million to child care providers to increase pay for workers and re-open closed child care centers. 

DCF plans to create three grant programs with the funding. One program will provide hazard pay to child care providers to compensate for the increased risk of contracting COVID-19. DCF intends to provide grants to increase provider pay by up to $5 per hour.

The second grant program will provide funds to offset the cost of child care for workers that are deemed essential. This funding may also help address increased costs for providers as a result of staying open during the pandemic.

Finally, DCF plans to create a grant program to help child care centers that have closed re-open. DCF estimates that up to 40% of child care centers may have closed as a result of COVID-19.

You can read this request here.

Many State Parks Re-Open

I am happy to report that this week Governor Evers announced nearly three dozen state parks, forests and outdoor recreation areas will reopen under special conditions. State parks and forests will be open from 6:00AM to 7:00PM daily, but will be closed to the public each Wednesday for upkeep and maintenance. Northern Forests, Flowages, the Lower Wisconsin Riverway and Wild Rivers will be open from 6:00AM to 11:00PM each day. Restrooms and other facilities such as towers, shelters, and headquarters will remain closed at all state properties. Annual stickers and/or trail passes will be required beginning May 1st.

Outdoor recreation is a hallmark of our state and especially important for our physical and mental health in these trying times. This decision to reopen these areas is a positive step and I am hopeful the administration takes additional common-sense actions in the coming days.

You can purchase passes by calling 1-888-305-0398.



State Office Remains Functional

As Governor Tony Evers Stay at Home order continues, my office has received many calls and emails with constituent requests. We have been working especially hard at expediting unemployment insurance claims while the Department of Workforce Development is seeing unprecedented claims.

Whatever you'd like our help with we are here to help and will do our best to be of assistance.

 |State Capitol | Post Office Box 8953 | Madison, Wisconsin 53708 (608) 266-2344 | Toll Free: (888) 534-0089 | Fax: (608) 282-3689 |Rep.Nygren@legis.wi.gov |