Capitol Update
by Senator Howard Marklein
May 1, 2020



GOOD NEWS!  Governor Tony Evers “turned the dial” a little bit this week by opening up curbside business operations and recreational rentals. He also gave golf courses the opportunity to rent golf carts for golfers visiting courses to enjoy the beautiful weather and re-opened 34 state parks! 
I am always looking forward to the Governor’s next media briefing to hear about what is going to open next. I know I am not alone.
In addition to turning the dial, the Governor also decided to reduce state agency budgets by 5%, which is approximately $70 million. A couple of weeks ago, the Governor told President Donald Trump that Wisconsin was probably going to experience nearly $2 billion in revenue losses. His decision this week is a good step forward, but we will need to do more. This is a stark reality as we watch tax revenue collections decline.  The March Revenue Collections were also released this week. 
While the March collections are still positive, the Wisconsin economy was fully functioning until March 18, 2020, if not later.  The real economic impact of the Safer At Home order will be visible in the April Revenue Collections, which I would expect to see toward the end of May.
But there is GOOD NEWS!  Hospitals and clinics all over Wisconsin are re-opening for elective procedures. They are safe places for you to seek care and I encourage anyone who is suffering a health issue to call your doctor. They are ready and able to serve you! 
GOOD NEWS! Testing is widely available for anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19. If you are feeling ill and want to be tested, please call your doctor. There are also several drive-in testing sites throughout the state. Wisconsin has lifted the restriction to only test patients who are hospitalized and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) wants to test everyone and trace contacts to prevent the spread of the disease.  They are aggressively isolating people and areas with outbreaks and working to contain the disease.  It’s working.
More GOOD NEWS! My team and I are watching the data daily. We will have more to report to you next week, but the trend lines are mostly down. We’re watching data related to symptoms, positive tests as a percentage of total tests and hospital occupancy. Wisconsin’s efforts have worked and I strongly believe that we are on a path toward recovery.
There are several plans in the works to reopen Wisconsin.  I have mentioned Governor Evers’ Badger Bounce Back Plan, but there is also the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) Back to Business Plan and others that are circulating and gaining traction. I am trying to work with my colleagues and the Governor to combine these pieces and other ideas into a cohesive, thoughtful strategy to Re-Open Wisconsin as soon as possible.  I know you want to get back to work and back to normal.  I do too.
As always, please do not hesitate to connect with me to provide input, ideas or to seek assistance.  My team is working remotely but continues to be available to serve you. Send an email to sen.marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov or call 608-266-0703. Leave a message and a member of my team will follow-up with you.