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The Senate and Assembly were both in session this week to vote on the 2021-2023 Biennial Budget. The Republican budget that we voted on falls short of what is needed to ensure a prosperous economic bounce-back. Governor Evers' influence over the process has put critical issues at the forefront and forced Republicans to confront their previous budget failures. Through his constitutional powers, Governor Evers will be able to make modifications to better reflect the needs of our state.

This update includes:

  • Enhanced COVID-19 Testing Support for Schools
  • Fair Maps Input Portal
  • Save the Date for this Local Event! 
  • Public Input Sought for WIS 69 Project, Monroe to New Glarus
  • 4th of July Safety Tips
  • Organic Cost Share Application Period
  • Keep Wildlife Wild Tips
  • Governor Tony Evers' Radio Address and additional resources!

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

 

Republican Budget Falls Short

Despite overwhelming public support for Governor Tony Evers’ state budget proposal that prioritized a successful economic recovery for the state, Republican politicians settled for less. Senate Democrats introduced an amendment to enact key proposals from the Governor’s Bounceback Budget, including investing in schools, increasing access to affordable health care, securing federal funding for the state, and ensuring that Wisconsinites have access to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, Republicans voted against these common-sense proposals and turned their backs on the communities that they represent.

 

After the turbulent year that Wisconsin families and communities went through, the Republican budget is incredibly disappointing compared to what was originally introduced by the Governor. Republicans failed to show up at the height of the pandemic when their constituents needed them most and the budget they have created is no different. Over the last several months, Gov. Evers and Legislative Democrats have tirelessly tried to capture federal funds and incentives to invest in schools, strengthen communities and grow their economies. Meanwhile, Republicans are not only refusing to bring home money that belongs to Wisconsinites, but they’re hoarding money that should be invested back into every corner of this state.

 

Gov. Tony Evers’ original budget proposal seized on an historic opportunity to capture funds to invest in families, strengthen communities and ensure a prosperous economic bounce-back. Families, schools, and small businesses depend on a responsible budget that invests in our priorities. We need bold, innovative solutions in order to make Wisconsin a place where future generations want to work and live – the Republican budget misses the mark and because it underfunds our K-12 schools so severely, I voted no. I am hopeful that through his constitutional powers, Governor Evers will be able to make necessary modifications to sign a budget that better reflects the needs of our state.

 


Are You Ready for Fair Maps?

The Wisconsin People's Maps Commission has announced a new public portal where Wisconsinites are encouraged to submit input and maps of their communities, redistricting plans of their own, and written comments to guide the work and recommendations of the People's Maps Commission.

You can learn more submit your feedback here.

 


Save the Date: New Glarus 175th Anniversary Celebration

Join the New Glarus community as they celebrate their 175th Anniversary!

Schedule of Events:

  • July 30th, 10am-2pm - The Swiss Historical Village will help launch New Glarus' 175+1 Anniversary weekend with a book signing by Duane Freitag. More info here.
  • July 30th, Evening - Community Picnic at Village Park. Enjoy Lions Club Chicken BBQ, fireworks, live music, and free birthday treats in honor of New Glarus.
  • July 31st, 10:30am - Anniversary Parade sponsored by the Bank of New Glarus through downtown New Glarus. 
  • July 31st, 12pm-12am - New Glarus Fire Department Firefest, 218 4th Avenue
  • August 1st, 1pm-2:30pm - Swiss Volksfest, Tell Shooting Park, N8745 County O, New Glarus


Celebrate July 4th Safely

As you prepare to celebrate the 4th this weekend, ReadyWisconsin has tips to make sure you have fun while being safe.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there were a total of 167 emergency department visits in Wisconsin during 2020 that were due to fireworks-related injuries. Among those injuries, 72-percent of the victims were male and 26-percent were under the age of 18.

In addition to potential injuries, the drought-like conditions being experienced in parts of Wisconsin this year have added an extra layer of concern. Those setting off fireworks should check for any local fire danger warnings or burning restrictions that may be in effect for their area. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides regular updates about current fire dangers at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/forestfire/restrictions.asp.While the easiest way to remain safe is to leave fireworks to the professionals, ReadyWisconsin offers the following advice for those who choose to set off fireworks and pyrotechnic novelties, such as sparklers and snakes, on their own:

  • Only buy and use legal fireworks that are allowed in your community and only buy from reliable sellers. Permit requirements and what’s considered “legal” may vary by location. Check with your municipality for more information.
  • Always have water (a garden hose or a bucket) ready in case of a fire.
  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Even sparklers can be extremely dangerous for kids to handle.
  • Adults igniting fireworks should always wear eye protection and never have any part of their body over a firework.
  • Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from buildings, dry leaves and flammable materials. Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people or animals.
  • If a firework fails to go off, never try to re-light it. Douse it with water before trying to move it.
  • Keep your pets indoors to reduce the risk that they will run loose and get injured.
  • Be considerate of your neighbors – especially those with pets or young children.

Public Input Sought for WIS 69 Project, Monroe to New Glarus, in Green County

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is seeking input on proposed improvements to WIS 69 from Bushnell Creek near Monroe to Cow Path Lane in New Glarus in Green County. The improvement project is currently scheduled for 2026, but advanceable to 2023 if funding becomes available.

The pavement on this section of WIS 69 is deteriorating with extensive cracking. The proposed improvements include the following:

  • Remove 2-inches of the existing asphalt surface and pave 2-inches of new asphaltic material;
  • Install centerline and shoulder rumble strips;
  • Add new pavement markings; and
  • Replace deteriorating culverts.

WIS 69 will be closed to through traffic during culvert replacement with a detour route posted, but will remain open to through traffic during the remaining construction with the use of flagging operations.

A narrated presentation detailing the project is available to view on the project website at: wisconsindot.gov/Pages/projects/by-region/sw/wis69-greencounty/default.aspx.

All persons interested in the project are encouraged to view the website and provide input by contacting project staff via email, postal mail, or phone. Public feedback will assist staff in developing a project that will serve the needs of the traveling public, as well as the needs of the community. Your input is also welcome and appreciated throughout the design process.

Comments received prior to July 5, 2021 will be included in the environmental document. Questions and comments can also be directed to WisDOT Project Manager Jim Simpson at jim.simpson@dot.wi.gov, (608) 246-5628, or mailed to the WisDOT Southwest Region, 2101 Wright St, Madison, WI 53704.

 


Keep Wildlife Wild: Know What To Do If You Find A Fawn This Summer

As the start of summer brings more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds Wisconsinites and visitors of the possibility of encountering white-tailed fawns.

As we approach Independence Day weekend, most deer rehabilitators have filled their capacity to take on new fawn patients, making it more important than ever to know what to do if you find a fawn in the wild.

In almost every case, the fawn is doing exactly what it should. In the first few weeks of life, fawns stay quiet and hidden while their mothers look for food nearby. Their spotted coats and low scent are their best defenses in the first few weeks of life. While fawns can walk from birth, they need a few more weeks to grow fast enough to keep up with their mothers and avoid predators.

By the Fourth of July, most fawns are on the move alongside or nearby their mothers. Mother deer still spend most of the day away from their fawns while they forage for food. Fawns lie still in brush or grass, keeping quiet until their mothers return, but now they have the speed and agility to run from danger.

“If you come across a fawn lying still and quiet and you don’t see mom around, that’s a good sign,” said Amanda Kamps, DNR Wildlife Health Conservation Specialist. “That fawn is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do to keep safe.”

Fawns have very specialized diets and can easily become dependent on people (habituated) for food, making release into the wild impossible.

“Beyond risking the health of the fawn, taking possession of a deer isn’t a good idea for people either,” Kamps said.

Holding any wild animal, including a fawn, for more than 24 hours is illegal in Wisconsin and can result in a citation with a monetary fine. The 24-hour grace period is allowed for transporting an injured or sick animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator without delay.

It is rare that unaccompanied fawns have been abandoned. If you find a fawn lying alone unless the fawn is sick or injured, leave it alone. Leave the area and do not go near the spot again. The mother will not return if people or dogs are present. Do not touch the fawn or bring children, dogs or friends to look at it. Doing so could endanger the fawn by giving away its location to a predator, and its mother won't return to nurse the fawn while people or dogs are nearby.

What To Do If You Find A Fawn:

  • If you find a fawn lying quietly in brush, high grass or even your lawn, the fawn is most likely healthy and safe. If you are concerned, monitor the fawn from a distance. Its mother will return periodically to feed and move it to a new location.
  • If a fawn is in an unsafe location, such as near a roadway, it’s okay to move the fawn back from the road several yards. Be sure to wear gloves and a facemask to protect the health of the fawn, and be sure to consider your own safety when walking near a road.
  • If a fawn appears visibly sick or injured, call the DNR or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for further guidanceVisit the DNR website for contact information for a county near you.

For more information on what to do if you find a fawn or any other baby animal, visit the DNR website.

 


Organic Cost Share Application Period Open

Organic food producers and processors have until October 31, 2021 to apply for reimbursement of costs related to organic certification through the USDA National Organic Program. In Wisconsin, this federal funding is administered through the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

 

Per DATCP, farms and businesses that produce, process, or package certified organic agricultural products are eligible to be reimbursed for 50 percent of certification-related costs (up to $500 per category of certification) for expenses paid from October 1, 2020 - September 30, 2021. Farms and businesses must be located in Wisconsin and currently certified as organic or actively seeking certification through an accredited organization during that time.

 

Applications materials and instructions can be found online at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)’s Organic Cost Share Program webpage: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Growing_WI/OrganicFarmingAndFood.aspx

 

Applications must be mailed to DATCP-DAD, Organic Cost Share Program, P.O. Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708 or emailed to datcporganiccostshare@wi.gov.

 

Questions about the Wisconsin Organic Cost Share Program and application process should contact Andrew Bernhardt, DATCP Organic Agriculture Programs Specialist, at datcporganiccostshare@wi.gov or 608-572-0512.

 

The funding for this popular program originated in the 2002 Federal Farm Bill and was renewed in the 2014 Federal Farm Bill. Funding comes from the federal government through the USDA National Organic Program. DATCP administers the funding for Wisconsin.

 


UI Program Supports Employer Ramp Up Hiring, Encourages Job Seekers to Accept Part-Time Work

As businesses ramp back up their operations, the Department of Workforce Development is highlighting how the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program can support employers and their returning workers.

"After a year of economic uncertainty, we understand that some employers may not yet be in a financial position to rehire all of their past employees at full capacity, but that they also need their skilled workers back if they are going to meet increased demand," Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said. "Similarly, we know many unemployed job-seekers are ready and willing to get back to work but may have limited full-time opportunities in their community. Wisconsin's UI system can support them both during this period of economic recovery."

The Work-Share program, which was used by many employers to minimize layoffs during the pandemic, can also be used to help employers rehire their already laid-off workers. If an employer brings a laid-off employee back part-time and participates in the Work-Share program, that worker will receive pro-rated UI benefits to help cover reduced compensation for not working full time, as well as the $300 weekly supplement. The weekly supplement program ends the week ending September 4, 2021. Any Work-Share benefits, as well as the federal supplement, are fully federally funded through the week ending September 4, 2021so there is no cost to employers.

More information about how employers can develop a Work Share plan is available on DWD's website.

If an unemployed job-seeker is not able to return to their previous employer or return part-time for their previous employer or new employer, they may still be able to receive partial UI benefits, along with the $300 supplement. The weekly supplement program ends the week ending September 4, 2021. The UI program allows UI recipients to take a part-time job and still receive some UI benefits. More information on how workers may access partial unemployment benefits is available on DWD's website.

"DWD encourages employers to hire and job seekers to work at their greatest potential," Pechacek said. "The UI program is available to support all of them bounce back even better than before the pandemic."


Governor's Weekly Radio Address

Gov. Tony Evers delivered the Democratic Radio Address in advance of the July 4th holiday weekend urging Wisconsinites to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 vaccine to help ensure the state’s continued economic recovery.

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

"Hi, folks! Governor Tony Evers here.

The 4th of July is right around the corner. And boy, it sure looks different than it did last year!

This year, the 4th of July means we can celebrate safely—gather with loved ones, fire up the grill, enjoy the outdoors, and celebrate the founding of our country and the values we share—all the traditions we missed out on last year.

And, folks, we get to do that because we’ve trusted the science and public health experts, and we’ve put in the hard work to help beat the pandemic and make sure our state and our economy can bounce back.

And this year, we have lots to celebrate—we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, Wisconsin businesses are bouncing back, and we’re a national leader in getting shots in arms.

But if we want to keep doing all the things we love and enjoy and make sure our state and economy continue to recover, we need you to roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and based on years of research and science.

More 50 percent of Wisconsinites have had at least their first dose of the vaccine. And millions across the country have gotten their shot, most with minimal side effects.

So folks, if you haven’t gotten your vaccine yet, or you know a friend or family member who hasn’t gotten theirs, now is the time to get it.

Head over to vaccines.gov to find the nearest vaccine provider to you.

We’re in this together, Wisconsin, and I know that, by continuing to work together, we can put this pandemic behind us.

Thank you."



Help Wisconsin Turtles! 

With turtle nesting season soon underway, state conservation biologists and highway officials are joining forces to encourage Wisconsinites to hatch a brighter future for slow-moving, slow-growing turtles by taking a few simple steps. 

 

Most of Wisconsin's 11 turtle species breed in late May through June and often cross roads to lay their eggs in nests on higher ground. Turtles getting run over by cars is a leading cause of the decline in turtle numbers in Wisconsin. The predation of turtle nests by raccoons, skunks and coyotes is another major problem.

 

Because some species – such as wood turtles and Blanding’s turtles – take 12 to 20 years to reach reproductive maturity, the death of even one female turtle a year can take a big toll.

 

To protect turtle populations, the Wisconsin DNR and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) are asking people to protect turtles on the move. Follow these protective actions from now through the end of June, when the nesting season ends:


Get Covered Through the ACA!

Thanks to new COVID relief, health insurance premiums have decreased on Healthcare.gov 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 Healthcare.gov 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 Healthcare.gov, 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 Wiscovered.com 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 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.