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My district was hit hard by flooding, and we are still seeing communities dealing with the damage, and unfortunately, people all over Wisconsin are seeing the same thing. That is why I was happy to team up with my colleagues, Senator Bewley, Representative Considine, Representative Meyers, Senator Smith, and Senator Schachtner to introduce the Flood Prevention and Resilience Plan.  I am happy to be circulating proposals to allow additional bonding for the soil and water resource management program and to allow homeowners to deduct flood insurance premiums.  With flooding events and heavy rainfall only expected to increase, these proposals can help with needed infrastructure and the affordability of flood insurance.

 

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Jon Erpenbach
Wisconsin State Senate, District 27

 

Governor Evers Declares Public Health Emergency  

Governor Evers declared the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) a Public Health Emergency. 

 

There is currently not a vaccine for COVID-19, but there are steps that you should be taking to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick.

 

At this time, social distancing is the most effective way to protect yourself. Social distancing means avoiding situations where larger groups of people gather in order to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and canceling events.

 

In order to slow the spread of respiratory viruses, you should be washing your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, avoid others who are sick, cover your cough, and clean surfaces and objects that you regularly use. Also, do not forget to stay home if you are sick!

 

I trust the Governor and the Department of Health Services to look out for Wisconsinites. As the Governor said, we cannot do this alone. Make sure that you are taking steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.

 

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For more information, visit the Department of Health Services (DHS) website and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 


Legislators Team with Governor on Flood Prevention and Resilience Plan

Wisconsin has endured years of flood damage affecting farmers, displacing families, damaging businesses and destroying infrastructure.  That is why we have circulated the Flood Prevention and Resilience Plan. Due to a changing climate, flooding has unfortunately become more frequent and severe and it is only going to get worse.

 

It is estimated that over $40 billion worth of Wisconsin properties, businesses and homes are located in a 100-year floodplain, so it is vital that our state takes steps to support communities in their efforts to combat flooding and provide them with the infrastructure they need to bounce back from disaster.

 

Municipal Flood Control Grant Program - The program protects lives and property by removing or improving structures that are at high risk for flooding. The program also helps prevent flooding by restoring riparian areas and increasing stormwater capacity. Increased funding for the Municipal Flood Control grant program would allow additional municipalities to participate in the program

 

Local Road Aid for Critical Infrastructure - Providing a grant program to local units of government to preemptively improve bridges and highways at substantial risk of impact from flooding will help mitigate the damage of flooding events in the future.

 

Flood Insurance Deduction - Standard homeowners insurance policies do not generally cover flooding, which can result in a significant financial burden for those impacted by flooding. Beginning with tax year 2020, this bill would allow individuals to subtract amounts of premiums paid for flood insurance from their Wisconsin adjusted gross income. 

 

Disaster Damage Aids - Investments in preventing future flood damage or infrastructure not only promote public safety, it reduces the risk associated with future damage and saves local governments additional expenditures associated with recurring recovery reconstruction.

 

Wisconsin Disaster Fund (WDF) - The bill would expand the ability of the Department of Military Affairs to provide state funding for mitigation projects that may not be eligible for federal funding. In addition to providing relief in the aftermath of a flood, like providing sand bags or clearing roads, expanding this program to cover certain mitigation measures will help to reduce the risk and costs associated with future flooding events. Additionally, by making other critical infrastructure like utilities and water management facilities eligible for WDF payments, this program will enhance a community’s ability to bounce back in response to flood and disaster related damages. 

 

Soil and Water Resource Management Grants -  Funds are used for cost-share grants for the installation of structural pollution-abatement or conservation practices.  Examples of eligible projects include manure storage facilities, feed storage facilities, barnyard runoff mitigation, erosion controls and streambank protection. Participation in the program generally allows farmers to claim tax credits under in the Farmland Preservation Program and helps farmers attain both state and federal nonpoint pollution performance standards. 

 

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Community Programs and Announcements 

DATCP Update: Alice in Dairyland Top Candidates to be Announced March 14 in Delavan

The selection of the 73rd Alice in Dairyland will be announced live during the program at the conclusion of the finals on May 16. Alice in Dairyland is a full-time communications professional serving as Wisconsin’s agricultural ambassador. Each Alice is employed by DATCP for one year and travels thousands of miles across the state, presenting to students, completing media interviews and attending community events to promote the state’s agriculture industry. The 73rd Alice in Dairyland will begin serving June 1, 2020.

Learn more. 

 

DATCP Update: Price Gouging 

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Governor Evers issued Executive Order #72 declaring a health emergency and certifying the state was in a period of abnormal economic disruption, which triggered enforcement of Wisconsin's Price Gouging Statute.

 

This declaration applies to the entire state and applies to any consumer good or service being sold at wholesale or retail.

 

Enforcement of the price gouging statute will continue until the emergency has ended.

To report suspected scams, fraud, false marketing claims, price gouging or other consumer complaints related to COVID-19, please contact DATCP’s Consumer Protection Hotline at DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov or (800) 422-7128, or file an online complaint.

 

DOA Update: State Capitol Tours Canceled Until Further Notice

In an effort to ensure the health and safety of both the public and the staff in the State Capitol during the potential spread of COVID-19, tours of the State Capitol will be canceled until further notice. Any groups who are currently scheduled for tours over the next two to three weeks will be contacted beginning today.

Although tours are canceled, operations within the State Capitol remain functioning normally.

 

Updates from the DNR: 

  • Bonus spring turkey harvest authorization go on sale March 16th for each of the seven spring turkey hunting zones.  Hunters are encouraged to check the DNR’s turkey zone map and bonus harvest authorization availability to see if harvest authorizations are available for the time period and zone in which they want to hunt.
  • The Department of Natural Resources invites hunters, farmers, foresters and any one interested in deer management in Wisconsin to attend the upcoming County Deer Advisory Council meetings to be held across the state March 30th through April 6th.  Every county in Wisconsin has a County Deer Advisory Council, which provides an opportunity for local input into local deer management.  These meetings are important for shaping the 2020 deer hunting seasons and annual antlerless harvest quotas.  A schedule of each county’s meeting can be found here.

 

Contacting My Office

Feel free to contact me with any inquiries. Please visit my website for press releases and other Capitol updates.