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On May 13, 2020 the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against the Safer at Home order effective immediately, requiring the Department of Health Services to go through the rulemaking process to be able to respond to a pandemic. 

This was never supposed to be about party lines, it’s about our state’s ability to respond to COVID-19 to save lives. Just because the Supreme Court ruled that it is okay to go back to normal, does not mean that science agrees. It is important that everyone continues to practice social distancing, frequently wash hands, and following CDC and DHS guidelines.

 

Sincerely,

 

JON ERPENBACH
State Senator
27th District

 

Wisconsin First Lady Talks Suicide Prevention
 

Suicide is a major problem in Wisconsin and occurs among all groups of people. Learn about the five action steps for helping someone in emotional pain:

  1. Ask: “Are you thinking about suicide?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts. Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks them in a caring way.
  2. Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
  3. Be there: Individuals are more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to someone who listens without judgment.
  4. Help them stay connected: Studies indicate that helping someone at risk create a network of resources and individuals for support and safety can help them take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness.
  5. Follow-up: Staying in touch with someone after they have experienced a crisis or after they have been discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.

 View the First Lady's Address and Learn More 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 

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 

LGBTQ Crisis Line *

HopeLine Text Service *

Wisconsin Elder Abuse Hotline *

 


DWD Expanding Efforts to Assist Wisconsinites

The Department continues to receive an unprecedented number of calls, receiving millions of calls a week. Due to the enormous demand, the department is taking steps to accommodate the call volume.

To assist with calls and processing the extraordinary number of claims for unemployment benefits, DWD is working with two call center vendors and a processing and adjudication vendor.

With additional staff on board, DWD will extend its call center hours to 7:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m. (hours were previously 7:35 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.). At 5:00 p.m., call center staff will stop accepting new calls, but will answer all calls remaining in the queue.

 

From DWD: How does the State Supreme Court ruling on Safer At Home impact my unemployment?

  • It does not impact applications submitted or claims pending. Benefits will be paid to eligible claimants, even if the person returns to work before their claim is deemed eligible.
  • It does not impact federal programs like FPUC, PUA or PEUC.
  •  It does not change work search. Governor Tony Evers waived work search March 12, 2020. Work search is still considered satisfied through the end of September 2020.
  •  It does impact unemployment eligibility in this way: If an employer now has work for an employee who was laid off or furloughed and that employee refuses to return to work, that will cause an eligibility issue that must be adjudicated. 

Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own. If the employee—not the employer—is choosing not to work, the employee is likely not eligible for UI benefits.

However, the facts of each circumstance are important. If you have any question about whether you are eligible for benefits, please apply. Individuals considered ineligible for unemployment may be eligible for PUA.

Learn more. 

Getting Tested for COVID-19

Gov. Evers announced a searchable map which allows Wisconsinites to search for COVID-19 testing site locations in their community to get tested.Each site may have different requirements. Learn more here.

Additionally, the Department of Health Services partnered with Riverside Corporate Wellness to connect you with a medical professional for an easy, confidential online screening. Learn more here. 

 

AG Kaul and Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources Partner to Launch Elder Abuse Hotline

DOJ - Attorney General Josh Kaul and the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources announced the launch of a new elder abuse hotline to assist victims, family members, and concerned citizens in reporting abuse of older adults.

The Wisconsin Elder Abuse Hotline Program was created through a federal grant the Wisconsin Department of Justice was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. This new toll-free hotline, 1-833-586-0107, is available for community members and victims to contact for assistance in obtaining needed resources and making referrals to local authorities.

Learn more here. 

 

Annual Wisconsin State Park Passes Now Available Online ​

The Department of Natural Resources now has an online option for purchasing Wisconsin state park vehicle admission stickers. Annual Wisconsin resident, Wisconsin resident senior, and non-resident stickers can be purchased online.

Annual state trail passes and reduced-rate annual stickers are not currently available for purchase online but can be purchased over the phone by calling 1-888-305-0398 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days per week. Daily stickers and trail passes are not sold online. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, sales of daily admission stickers at Wisconsin State Park properties are not currently available.

Learn more here. 

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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. 

 


 

 Governor Evers Emergency Orders 

5/11/2020: Emergency Order #36: Interim Order to Turn the Dial 

5/11/2020: Updated- Safer at Home FAQs 

5/4/2020: Emergency Order #35: Relating to the Department of Health Services and Department of Safety and Professional Services 

4/27/2020: Emergency Order #34: Interim Order to Turn the Dial 

4/24/2020: Emergency Order #33: DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ADMINISTRATIVE RULE SUSPENSIONS 

4/23/2020: Emergency Order #32: RELATING TO THE OPERATION OF THE ALTERNATIVE CARE FACILITY 

4/20/2020: Emergency Order #31: Badger Bounce Back

 

View more.

 

What Can I Do to Help 

* DWD Hiring to help support the Division of Unemployment Insurance: DWD is hiring for a wide rage of positions across the state to help support the Division of Unemployment Insurance. If you have an eye for detail and exceptional organizational skills, apply today. 

Become a Foster Parent in Wisconsin: Foster parents play a critical role for children, families, and agencies. The foster parent’s primary task is to temporarily care for a child until the child’s permanence goal is achieved. The foster parent’s role is also unique and involves much more. Learn more here.

Apply to be a Contact Tracers: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Division of Public Health (DPH) is recruiting a large team of Contact Tracers to assist in tracking and limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the State of Wisconsin. Apply here.

COVID-19 Volunteer Program: The state is seeking volunteers to support Wisconsin's healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Active and retired healthcare professionals and those who wish to help in non-clinical support positions are encouraged to sign up to volunteer through the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR)

PPE Donation/Buyback program: We are looking for companies, educational facilities and other organizations that may have personal protective equipment (PPE) that could be used in the state’s response to the COVID-19 emergency. Sign up here: https://covid19supplies.wi.gov/donations 

United Way - To connect potential volunteers and organizations, the United Way of Wisconsin, Serve Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Volunteer Coordinators Association created the COVID-19 Response Initiative on the Volunteer Wisconsin website.

Red Cross -  If healthy, please consider giving blood by calling 1-800-RedCross or going to redcrossblood.org.

WRA - Establishments around the state are offering services during COVID-19. Find a list of restaurants open for delivery/pick-up and add yours to the list here.


 
Contacting My Office

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