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Another week, and another piece of Republican legislation trying to consolidate more power. Almost two years later, and they still can't seem to accept the election results of our democratically elected Governor. While Republicans took a ten month vacation, Governor Evers' worked diligently and pragmatically to guide our state through this pandemic.

Not only did Republicans not do their job, but they repeatedly undermined and attacked the Governor's efforts while having zero plans of their own. And now, they want to consolidate more power and prevent the Governor from being able to do his job to the best of his ability. Their complete disregard for this pandemic and their inability to act for close to a year has shown they can't handle the responsibility. 

This update includes more breaking news on the critical importance of expanding BadgerCare, budget information related to school funding, the latest vaccination update, the Conservation Congress spring hearings and the Governor's radio address.

I hope you find this information helpful and please don't hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
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JON ERPENBACH
State Senator
27th District

 

 

Get to Know the Budget - Schools

The Governor's BounceBack Budget includes policies to help our state, communities and families bounce back and better than when the pandemic started. It includes a lot of policies that have overwhelming public support and are critical to help move our state forward. Each week, I'll highlight portions of the Governor's budget and why it matters to you.
 
Just like his last budget, Gov. Evers believes that what's best for our kids is what's best for our state and that starts with education. We all know it's been a tough year for students and teachers, and it is important to ensure they are better off than before the pandemic began. 
An important piece of the Governor's education proposal includes over $709 million for special education aid. Investments like this matter because they not only provide enhanced direct support to students with disabilities but it also provides school districts with budget flexibility to address the needs of the general student population.
That means a $85.3 million investment for schools in the 27th Senate District. Here's a breakdown of what that means for school districts under the Governor's proposal:
School District Special Education Investment
Albany $274,665
Argyle $151,924
Baraboo $2,241,986
Barneveld $174,922
Belleville $506,024
Darlington Community $465,469
DeForest Area $2,988,862
Dodgeville $805,188
Evansville Community $1,548,029
Lodi $1,429,043
Madison Metropolitan $33,552,105
Middleton-Cross Plains $6,911,168
Monroe $2,615,991
Monticello $253,673
Mount Horeb Area $1,601,652
New Glarus $635,631
Oregon $3,189,431
Pecatonica Area $302,452
Portage Community $1,366,455
Poynette $584,110
Reedsburg $2,568,162
River Valley $1,204,078
Sauk Prairie $2,159,596
Sun Prairie Area $8,085,358
Verona Area $4,617,165
Waunakee Community $3,283,994
Wisconsin Dells $969,666
Wisconsin Heights $834,671
 

Republican Refusal to Expand BadgerCare Could Cost State $1 Billion in Additional Funding

A memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has confirmed that under the federal American Rescue Plan Act, Wisconsin could receive an additional $1 billion in federal funding if the BadgerCare program is expanded, as proposed in Governor Evers’ 2021-23 biennial budget. Democratic members on the Joint Finance Committee released the following statements highlighting the importance of expanding BadgerCare:

 

“Expanding BadgerCare to cover more people for less is already a sweet deal but adding an additional $1 billion in federal funds is an extra bonus,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point). “We are a full year into this pandemic and the stakes couldn’t be higher for our state. It was already foolish for Republicans to reject the BadgerCare expansion in the last budget, but we cannot afford to lose out on a billion dollars in additional funding. There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t provide more affordable, quality coverage, while lowering health insurance premiums and accessing a billion more in funding for our state. To reject BadgerCare expansion would be a costly missed opportunity and a slap in the face to every Wisconsin resident.”

 

“Wisconsin has a chance to do the responsible thing with our tax dollars and provide 90,000 more people with quality health coverage,” added Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee). “At a time when ensuring access to health care, fighting for equity and justice and protecting taxpayers and our economy are central themes in our conversations about creating a better future for children and families, few things would make as significant of an impact to all three as BadgerCare expansion.” 

 

“Thirty-eight other states have accepted federal funds to expand similar programs, including all of our neighbors in the Great Lakes Region,” said Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee). “This is a popular and proven policy that broadens access to healthcare while reducing state costs. It is working all around us and it is time for Wisconsin to act.”

 

“Expanding BadgerCare is overwhelmingly popular in Wisconsin, and with the fiscal and health benefits to our state, it’s easy to see why,” added Rep. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine). “Expanding BadgerCare isn’t controversial — in fact, the Marquette Law School Poll reported that seven in ten Wisconsinites strongly supported this policy in 2019. With broad, bipartisan support from the people of Wisconsin and critical additional resources available thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the Legislature must move forward with the BadgerCare expansion in the budget.”


The Latest News on Vaccinations

Per the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), individuals age 16 and older with certain medical conditions will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning March 29. This eligibility group includes individuals with medical conditions associated with an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Based on the recent and anticipated increases in vaccine availability, DHS anticipates the general public will be eligible for the vaccine sometime in May.

 

The next eligibility group includes individuals age 16 and over with the following medical conditions:

  • Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Liver disease
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30-39 kg/m2)
  • Overweight (BMI of 25-29 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2 or more)
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

In the meantime, it is important to double-down on ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 due to emerging strains of the virus. Masking up, staying physically distant, washing hands, and getting tested continue to be crucial tools for protecting ourselves and our communities against COVID-19. Individuals who are fully vaccinated can review recently released post-vaccination guidance on the DHS website.

For information, resources, and data related to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 vaccination program, visit the COVID-19 vaccine webpage.

 


March for Meals on Wheels

This month the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Eagle Country - Sauk County Office is Marching for Meals on Wheels to celebrate the program, the older adults they serve and the amazing volunteers that make it all happen. 

Did you know that 58% of home-delivered meal recipients live alone? For many of them, the person delivering the meal is often the only person they see that day.

You can learn more about hunger and isolation in older adults here.  


Democratic Radio Address

This week, Governor Evers delivered the Democratic Radio Address on the American Rescue Plan and how it will provide much needed relief to Wisconsin's small businesses, workers, families, and schools.

You can listen to the audio file here and the written transcript is below:

"Hey, everyone. Governor Tony Evers here.

One year ago, on March 12th, I declared our first statewide Public Health Emergency for COVID-19.

At that time there was still so many unknowns. Not only in the nature of the virus itself, but what it would mean for our families, workers and businesses, and our communities.

We never could have known the tragedy it would bring to the families and loved ones of more than 6,500 Wisconsinites who died this year.

As we keep those lost in our hearts and on our minds, we now see light at the end of the tunnel.
Our vaccination program continues to expand and grow, and more than one million Wisconsinites have received their first dose and another more than 600,000 have completed their vaccine series.

And Wisconsin continues to be a national and regional leader in getting vaccines in arms.

As we see the road to recovery ahead of us and with federal relief funds on the way, it’s time for Wisconsin’s bounce back.

But we can’t just bounce back to the way things were before, we need to look forward and beyond the pandemic to build the future we want for our state.

That’s what my Badger Bounceback budget is all about.

Whether it’s investing in broadband to help businesses grow, students learn, and communities connect, expanding BadgerCare to ensure more Wisconsinites have healthcare coverage, or investing in our kids and schools, and the UW System and Technical Colleges to ensure we are building the next generation of innovators and leaders, there is obviously much work ahead of us.

Let’s get this done and let’s bounce back better. Take care, Wisconsin. Thank you."

 


Save the Date - Conservation Congress

Mark your calendar for the annual spring Conservation Congress public hearing and county meeting on April 12, 2021.

These hearings offer a chance to the public to voice their opinion on a range of natural resource related topics. 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will once again hold the spring hearings virtually online. 

The online input option will be open on April 12, 2021 at 7pm and will remain open for 72 hours. The link will be posted HERE closer to the date.

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress will also be accepting resolutions submitted by citizens utilizing and an online input form.


Rental Assistance

Reminder, if you or anyone you know that has experienced income loss as a result of the pandemic their is support available! 
 
The Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance Program, provides direct financial assistance for rent, utility, home energy costs, and wraparound services for individuals who qualify.
 
For information on the program, how to apply, frequently asked questions as well as local resources and contacts please click here.

 


- Resources - 

During this difficult time it is worth reminding Wisconsinites that 211 exists to help when you don’t know where to turn. 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 thehotline.org 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 


 

Looking for additional resources? If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to my office at Sen.Erpenbach@Legis.WI.Gov, or call (608) 266-6670. 

 

 
 
Contacting My Office

Feel free to contact me with any inquiries.

Please visit my website for press releases and other Capitol updates.