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I hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend and takes a moment to remember and honor the individuals that sacrificed their lives in service to our country.

The Joint Committee on Finance met this week and took action on the UW System, Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Technical College System. 

This update includes:

  • Budget Breakdown
  • Road construction updates
  • Legislation to ensure economic recovery
  • Small business grants
  • Boosting your brand
  • Dane County youth fishing and so much more!

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

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State Senator
27th District


Highlights from Joint Finance May 20th Executive Session on the 2021-2023 State Budget

May 20th Executive Session Action 

Department of Public Instruction

Democrats on the committee offered Motion #51 which was nearly identical to Governor Evers’ DPI budget. The omnibus motion would allocate over $1.556 billion in GPR total school aid, an increase of 12.4% over the base year doubled. 


That allocation included $612.82 million in general aid while increasing revenue limits (per pupil adjustments) by $200 and $204 in 2021 and 2023 respectively. The motion also included an increase in the flat per pupil aid by $8 per pupil in regular aid and $75 per pupil  in high poverty aid. The motion also makes adjustments to the administration of the per pupil aid calculation. 


The Categorical Aids in the motion contained a number of provisions including $709.5 million in special education aid; this would bring the state reimbursement to 45% in 2021 and 50% in 2022. The motion also invested in a number of areas including: $46.5m in school mental health aid, $28.032m in bilingual bicultural aid, $19.96m in sparsity aid, $4m in high cost transportation aid and an increase in the reimbursement rate for pupil transported over 12 miles to school by 10 dollars from $365 to $375 beginning in 2021. Motion failed 4-11.


The Republicans on the committee moved Motion #59 which included a total GPR increase of $128 million in total K-12 funding. This motion would increase the K-12 GPR appropriation by roughly 1% over base year and 0.5% in 2021. The budget included just 10% of what Governor Evers proposed. The motion provided $85.4 million in special education funding, and it is unlikely that this funding would achieve the proration rate of 30% in the second year of the biennium. As it stands funding levels in this motion would not meet the maintenance of effort to qualify for federal coronavirus funds, which would mean Wisconsin would not qualify for any of the federal funds in the CARES, CAA or ARPA for ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief). The motion passed 11-4.


Higher Education (WTCS, HEAB, UW System)

Democrats on the committee offered omnibus Motion #55 (as amended, with removal of item 1) for the Wisconsin Tech College System, Higher Educational Aids Board and UW System. The motion would fund the Governor’s budget requests for all of higher education, including fully funding the UW tuition freeze for the biennium and over $187 million in total additional state tax dollar investment in higher education compared to current funding levels. The motion failed along party lines 4-11.

Republicans offered omnibus Motion #58 for higher education. The motion included no increases in general aids for UW system or HEAB, with total additional state tax dollar investment of just $21 million for the biennium. The motion also took no action on the UW system in-state tuition freeze, which under current law is set to expire at the end of 2019-21 biennium. Pending UW Regent action, Republicans effectively increased UW system tuition for in-state students and their families after 8 years of the freeze. Finally, the motion’s spending increase does not match the minimum maintenance of effort requirements under the federal coronavirus acts, meaning without additional investment in higher ed. (along with K-12 above), Wisconsin would not currently qualify for ESSER funds. The Republican motion passed 11-4.


Dane County Health Update

Dane County recently released their newest public health order announcing that effective June 2, all public health orders will be lifted, including mask requirements, and gathering and capacity limits. 
Masking requirements will become recommendations and individual businesses and organizations may choose to enforce their own policies.
Don't forget children 12-15 years old are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinations. Don't forget, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses for full protection and is the first and only vaccine available to this age group.  


Per DHS, parents and guardians of children ages 12-15 can schedule a vaccination using a variety of options, including with their health care provider, at community-based vaccination clinics, local and tribal health departments, or pharmacies. To locate a provider administering the Pfizer vaccine, visit Parents and guardians can learn more by visiting the COVID-19: Resources for Parents and Guardians page or by calling 1-844-684-1064 toll-free.

3 Week Closure Starts June 9th of US14/Commercial Street in Mazomanie

Per the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, starting Wednesday, June 9th, US 14/Commercial Street near County KP in Mazomanie will be closed to all traffic until late June. Through traffic should follow the signed detour route of WIS 78 to Sauk City, US 12 then WIS 60 to Spring Green. Access will be maintained to local residences and businesses. Crews will install storm sewer pipes under the highway near County KP.


The closure and work operations are weather dependent and subject to change.


The US 14 reconstruction project is scheduled for completion in late September 2021. Information on this project can be found at Follow Southwest Region construction projects on Twitter at @WisDOTsouthwest.


Democrats Lead the Way for Economic Recovery

In an effort to prioritize the needs of families, communities and small businesses after a tumultuous and traumatic year, Representative Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee) and I have introduced LRB 3634 that would expand BadgerCare and secure $1.6 billion in additional funding allocated in the American Rescue Plan Act. This is the same legislation Gov. Evers introduced for the special session on BadgerCare that was rejected by Republican. After a year of refusing to do their jobs at the height of the pandemic, Republicans have failed to put forth tangible solutions to help Wisconsin’s economic recovery. Instead they have been more focused on attacking the freedoms of Wisconsin youth and voters.


Wisconsin has an incredible opportunity to make healthcare coverage available for 90,000 residents and to secure an additional $1.6 billion in federal funding. Democrats are committed to ensuring a successful economic recovery for Wisconsin communities, families and small businesses. This proposal makes critical investments to revitalize the manufacturing industry, provide mental health facilities, and expand access to reliable broadband across Wisconsin. Especially after the hardships of this past year, it would be both financially and morally wrong to reject this proposal. Republicans once again have an opportunity to do what is right for their constituents and districts that would benefit from these funds.


After it was announced that Wisconsin is expected to receive $700 million less under the American Rescue Plan Act than previously projected; Democrats have expressed extreme urgency to expand BadgerCare and access the additional $1.6 billion. LRB 3634 would provide health care coverage to thousands of Wisconsinites and invest money into economic development initiatives around the state including, but not limited to:

  • $200 million in Broadband Expansion grants
  • $100 million to replace lead laterals across the state
  • $50 million to the VERSO CO-OP in Wisconsin Rapids
  • $5 million to Green Bay to clean up coal piles and revitalize neighborhoods
  • $20 million for mental health beds at in Wausau and Chippewa Valley
  • $5 million to Door County for the Potowatomi Observation Tower
  • $15 million to the Versiti Blood Research Institute in Milwaukee
  • $530,000 for a new water supply control system for the City of Waukesha
  • $4 million for Memorial Hospital of Lafayette in Darlington
  • $500,000 for the River North Housing Development Project in Manitowoc

Happy Birthday Wisconsin

Did you know that our great state of Wisconsin will be celebrating its 173rd Birthday on Saturday? On May 29, 1848 Wisconsin became the nation's 30th state. Make sure to get out and enjoy our state's beautiful outdoors or enjoy some cheese curds to celebrate!

Gov. Evers Announces Application Dates for $420 Million in Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grants

This week, Governor Evers announce that applications for up to $420 million in new Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grants for be open at 8am Monday, May 24th thought 4:30pm Monday, June 7th. Small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic should consider applying.


The Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grants program is a collaboration between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Department of Revenue (DOR). The effort is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The grants will provide as many as 84,000 Wisconsin small businesses with annual gross revenue between $10,000 and $7 million with a flat award of $5,000.


The grants are part of Gov. Evers’ plan to use the $2.5 billion the state will receive under the ARPA, which includes $600 million in funds designated to supporting small businesses. The Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery grants are included in that $600 million.


The new grants will target Wisconsin small businesses, including those that started in 2020, in sectors that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Individuals and businesses interested in learning more about the Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grant program by visiting the main page of the Department of Revenue,

Wisconsin Free Fun Weekend

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting the 9th annual Free Fun Weekend June 5-6. Park admission fees, fishing licenses and trail passes will be waived for Wisconsinites to find their adventure outdoors.


Wisconsin is home to 49 state parks, 15 state forests, 44 state trails, 84,000 miles of rivers and streams, roughly 15,000 lakes and so much more. Before heading to a state park, trail or waterbody near you, here are some helpful things to know:



  • Admission stickers will not be required.
  • All state parks will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Drive-up windows, playgrounds, bathrooms and observation towers are open.
  • Stand-alone concession facilities are open to the public at 50% capacity.
  • Office buildings, visitor centers, enclosed shelters and nature centers remain closed until further notice.
  • Adaptive rental equipment at state park properties is unavailable until further notice.


  • Trail passes will not be required for both residents and non-residents.
  • All linear/rail trails will be open to the public, including ATV trails and horseback riding trails.



  • All DNR boat launches are open.
  • Boats must be registered, which can be done either online or via mail.
  • Minimize the spread of aquatic invasive species by removing plants and animals from boats before and after launching, draining all water from compartments, and never move live fish from any waterbody.


  • Wear a lifejacket at all times when fishing from a boat, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.
  • Use boat lights after sunset.
  • Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during an ATV ride or while operating a boat.
  • Wear a helmet and protective clothing such as eye protection, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt while riding an ATV.
  • All children under the age of 18 must have a minimum Department of Transportation standard motorcycle or ATV helmet - bicycle helmets are not legal.
  • Keep your speed in mind as weather and terrain conditions vary or change.

Free Fun Weekend is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. Participants are encouraged to join the Wisconsin State Parks' OutWiGo initiative. Make sure to tag your Free Fun Weekend photos with #OutWiGo.

Boost Your Brand

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) encourages companies to renew or join the Something Special from Wisconsin™ (SSfW) program during the membership renewal period. Renewal applications are due on June 30, 2021. New members can join at any time throughout the year.


Per DATCP, to be eligible for a SSfW membership, companies must certify that at least 50% of a product’s ingredients, production, or processing is from or completed in Wisconsin. Eligible companies can apply for membership or renew an existing one online at


Something Special from Wisconsin™ members receive exclusive benefits including use of the recognizable trademark on their products, access to member-only events, educational webinars, and resources, and additional publicity in program marketing activities including a business profile on the SSfW website. Member companies are also featured throughout the year in numerous media stories and on social media.


As part of the 2021-2023 biennial budget, Governor Tony Evers has proposed an additional $400,000 for the SSfW program to help support additional marketing opportunities for program members. This could include retail pop-ups, partnerships with other state agencies or marketing firms, and other initiatives to better support Wisconsin businesses.


Nearly 450 companies are currently Something Special from Wisconsin™ members. Examples of some current SSfW products include food, personal care items, and furniture. A special listing of all SSfW companies, sortable by company name or category type, is available online at


To learn more about Something Special from Wisconsin™, visit and follow SSfW on Facebook and Twitter.

Governor's Weekly Radio Address

Gov. Tony Evers delivered the Democratic Radio Address on the Wisconsin
Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grant Program. The grants will provide up to $420 million in $5,000 grants to as many as 84,000 Wisconsin small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with annual gross revenue between $10,000 and $7 million. To apply for these grant funds, small businesses should visit Applications will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Mon., June 7, 2021.

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

"Hello Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers here.

Wisconsin continues to be a national and regional leader in getting available vaccine in arms. With everyone 12 and older eligible to get the vaccine, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and look ahead to our economic recovery.

Our Main Street businesses have been hit hard this past year. We know if we’re going to bounce back from COVID-19, we have to get support to small businesses across our state to help them get through this pandemic and make it to the other side.

In April, I announced we’d be using our American Rescue Plan Act funds to do just that. We announced our Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grant program that will provide up to $420 million in grants to help as many as 84,000 small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

These businesses will receive $5,000 that can be used to restock shelves, catch up on bills, rehire and retain workers, and continue to help keep their customers, employees, and our communities safe as we work to bounce back together.

Applications for this program opened earlier this week and will be accepted through June 7th, so don’t wait!

If you’re a small business owner in Wisconsin with an annual gross revenue between $10,000 and $7 million, head to to apply today.

Thank you."

Dane County Youth Fishing Tournament June 1

The Second Annual Dane County Youth Fishing Tournament will kick off on June 1. This tournament is a summer long competition for youth ages 9-15. It is intended for independent anglers who commonly fish in their respective communities on a regular basis. The tournament app is free to download and it is free to register to participate in the tournament. All fish entered must be photographed/documented via the Fish Donkey tournament app:

  1. Measure fish for length against a bump board or commercial measuring tape
  2. Take photo of angler holding fish. A selfie will do.

In 2020 the tournament had 90 registered anglers and over 400 verified fish.

Providing Independent Youth Anglers a fun competition for the summer of 2021

  • Youth 9-15 years old- must be 9-15 the day fish is caught AND the day fish is submitted on the app.
  • Fish must be caught from shore or kayak/canoe.

No motorized boats!

  • Tournament will run June 1 – August 31. Top of the leaderboard and Judge’s pick Winners awarded Prizes at the end of each month.
  • Dane County public Waters only
  • Categories: Grand Slam Bluegill, Crappie, Rock Bass / Grand Slam Largemouth Bass, Pike, Walleye / Largest by length Largemouth, Smallmouth, Pike, Walleye, All other species / Stringer of 5 Largemouth / Kayak~Canoe catch
  • Download the free app FISH DONKEY and REGISTER for FREE for the Dane County Youth Fishing Tournament
  • Parents and Spectators go to the fish donkey website and create an account to login and view leaderboard.
  • Follow DCYFishingTournament on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Brought to you by many generous sponsors and GetOutAndFish.Org
  • To sponsor prizes or support Get Out and Fish . Org email or text 608-239-7888
  • MORE INFO AT GetOutAndFish.ORG

Resurfacing Work Starts June 1 on WIS 69, North of New Glarus to Belleville 

Per the Department of Transportation, resurfacing work begins Tuesday (June 1) on nearly 4 miles of WIS 69, from north of New Glarus to Belleville, in southern Dane County. WIS 69 (south of WIS 92 to Peerless Road) will be closed and detoured from Tuesday, June 1 through Friday, July 2, for culvert pipe replacements. A signed detour will follow WIS 39, WIS 78 and US 18/151. Access will be maintained to local residences within the work zone.


During the majority of construction, WIS 69 will remain open to traffic with lane closures and flagging operations. Motorists are advised to slow down and be alert for crews and equipment near the travel lanes.


The prime contractor for the $2.1 million project is Payne and Dolan, Inc. | Walbec Group based out of Waukesha, Wisconsin. The project is scheduled to be completed in late August 2021 (weather-permitting).


Information on the WIS 69 resurfacing project can be found at Follow Southwest Region construction projects on Twitter at @WisDOTsouthwest.

Get Covered Through the ACA!

Thanks to new COVID relief, health insurance premiums have decreased on and you can sign up to get covered right now! Four out of five enrollees will now be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month.

If you’ve shopped on before, look again! New, lower prices are available for more people than ever before.

If you are are currently uninsured, already signed up for a plan through, or eligible for COBRA coverage from a former employer, you may benefit from these changes. People looking to get enrolled or change their current plan are encouraged to visit or call 2-1-1 to get free, expert help.

This new enrollment opportunity won’t last forever- sign up today!

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 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.