March 27, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #12
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
Explain it this way!
" To 🛑 the spread, limit close interaction to the same 5 people TOTAL,
NOT different small groups."  #SaferAtHome
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League COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Conference Calls
This call is for City/Village Officials,
including mgrs./adm. & Staff Only

No Call today - please take care and we'll talk with you the week of 3/30.

Monday, March 30, 2020 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Friday, April 3, 2020 8:00 - 9:00 a.m . 

If you aren't able to connect or have a question after participating, please contact Jerry Deschane at email .

We will schedule additional calls as needed. Notice and call-in information will be provided on the League's website and in these Special Edition newsletters, which will also be sent as needed.
Gov. Evers #SaferAtHome Shelter in Place Emergency Order

Emergency Order #12 Impact on Municipalities  (PDF) by Steve Zach, Boardman & Clark LLP 

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)

This just in from Governor Evers:

Dear Elected Official,
Thank you for your tireless efforts during these times to serve the people of your community and the people of the state of Wisconsin. Your dedication to ensuring the safety of your communities is noticed, and we appreciate your leadership. We are all in this together, and we know everyone is doing the very best they can to keep people safe.
Today, the Governor asked the legislative leadership to work together on behalf of those performing their constitutional duty to administer the elections and those who are trying to exercise their constitutional right to vote—with the safety of our people as the top priority.
While we cannot mitigate every challenge with the upcoming April election, the Governor believes we can work together to put some measures in place to protect the safety of the people of Wisconsin.
With that in mind, the Governor is asking the legislature to immediately pass legislation to do the following:

  • Allow voters the opportunity to vote from home by sending an absentee ballot to every registered voter
  • Allow absentee ballots postmarked the day of the election to be counted
  • Extend the time period to give clerks extra time to count the influx of absentee ballots
The Governor knows we have to act quickly, ensure everyone can safely exercise their right to vote, and keep our people safe.
Please see the Governor’s comments today here .

Words cannot express our appreciation for all your work. We know you all are out their creating solutions to challenges.
Thank you again. As this situation impacts every person in the state of Wisconsin, we thank you for your service.

Jamie Kuhn
Director of Outreach
Office of Governor Tony Evers
Office Phone: 608-266-7606

Steps municipalities are taking to keep voters, poll workers and staff safe during the Spring Election.
Thanks to everyone who provided their great ideas. The responses from the survey of municipal clerks conducted by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities the week of 3/23--3/27 is here .

Municipal Clerks If you haven't already, please check your spam filters for absentee ballot requests. The Dane County Clerk has let us know that they've found several requests in spam.
Frequently Asked Questions

What’s Considered “indefinitely confined” for absentee voting purposes?
Some County clerks in the state, mainly in Dane County and Milwaukee Counties, have started allowing absentee voters to put “indefinitely confined” on their ballots and then not requiring the voter to submit an ID with their ballot. In response, Sen. Majority Leader Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Vos asked the Legislative Reference Bureau for a memo on the following questions:   1.) Whether the clerks in counties like Dane and Milwaukee could legally encourage voters to request absentee ballots as “indefinitely confined;” 2.) What consequences, if any, would these clerks face for issuing statements that encourage voters to request absentee ballots as “indefinitely confined;” and, 3.) What consequences, if any, would voters face if they requested and received an absentee ballot as “indefinitely confined,” including whether those ballots would potentially be invalidated by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) or a judge. 

The LRB Memo on this question is here .

Paid Sick Leave and Family Medical Leave Related to COVID-19
The Legislative Council recently released an Issue Brief titled Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Related to COVID-19 .

Answers to frequently asked questions by employers about the impact of the global Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on Wisconsin Retirement System benefits. Topics include paid leave, rehired annuitants, terminations, and more. ETF will keep this information updated.
Frequently Asked Questions
From the League's past COVID-19 Newsletters

March 26, 2020

Emergency Order #12 Impact on Municipalities  (PDF) by Steve Zach, Boardman & Clark LLP 

Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Sample Employee Policy and Guidance

Governor's Emergency Powers
The scope of Governor’s emergency powers does not include suspending statutes. Read more about the Governor’s emergency powers in this recent Legislative Council Information Memorandum on: AUTHORITY OF PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

March 25, 2020

Impact on property assessment and taxation by DOR
See the League's website here.

March 20, 2020

Summary of the recently enacted Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act

HR 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response  SUMMARY  

HR 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response  Paid Sick Leave  

March 19, 2020

Wisconsin Elections Commission’s Latest Actions Regarding Spring Election Preparedness
Answer: See the League's website here .

Effect of DHS’ Order #5 on Municipalities
(Prohibitions on gatherings of 10 or more people)
Answer: See the League's website here.

Can Restaurants Providing Meals for Carry-out and Delivery Sell Alcohol?
Answer: See the League's website here .

Municipal Emergency Powers During COVID-19
Answer: See the League's website here .

Complying with the open meetings law during the COVID-19 health emergency.  
Answer: See the League's website here . Includes Wis. Dept. of Justice guidance we received March 16, 2020.

Spending to address COVID-19 and the Expenditure Restraint Program .
Answer: See the League's website here. Includes guidance we received from the Wis. Dept. of Revenue on March 13, 2020.

Reminder - Continuing to conduct meetings  

The  Office of Open Government  in the Wisconsin Department of Justice has issued two advisories indicating that governmental bodies may meet remotely during the COVID-19 public health emergency and still comply with the open meetings law.  March 16 Advisory March 20 Advisory

Local Government Options for Conducting Meetings Remotely (PDF) by Curt Witynski, Deputy Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities explains the options and the Advisories. It has been shared with the other local government associations, including the Clerks Association.

Reminder - Public Service Commission

Additional Details on PSC Order Altering Public Utility Tariffs
On March 24, 2020, the Public Service Commission issued an emergency order (in Docket 5-UI-120), effective immediately, temporarily altering all public utility tariffs, including those of municipal water and electric utilities.

Deadline for Municipal Utilities Annual Reports Extended to June 1
Earlier today, the Public Service Commission sent the following notice to municipal water, sewer, and electric utilities: Given the timeline in Governor Evers' Emergency Order #12 and the uncertainty surrounding the length of the declared public health emergency, the Commission is further extending the deadline for filing 2019 PSC Annual Reports to June 1, 2020 for all utilities.     

Reminder - Coordinating with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Updated additional guidance from FEMA here .
Includes "What Local Governments Should Do."

Note: FEMA recommends that local governments follow the guidelines for Procurement Under Grants Conducted Under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances .”

The National League of Cities CitiesSpeak blog on seeking FEMA assistance .
If you don't find what you need or if you have resources to contribute,
please email Jerry Deschane.
With the weekend comes new #SaferAtHome challenges

Please consider sharing Facebook posts from the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services Facebook page to your own Facebook page. Scroll down to see what they've posted.

Copy and paste this explanation of #SaferAtHome into your posts:

To 🛑 the spread, limit close interaction to the same 5 people TOTAL,
NOT different small groups."  #SaferAtHome
Join the Facebook Politics & Government Outreach Team to learn about tips and tools that State & Local Government partners can leverage on Facebook during this unprecedented time, and have your questions answered in real time. To sign up for one of the three training sessions we are offering, click the corresponding link below:
Monday, Mar 30, 2020 4:00 – 5:00 PM EDT
Wednesday, Apr 1, 2020 2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT
Friday, Apr 3, 2020 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Please share with any State and Local government agencies, elected officials, or their staff across the nation who may be interested.   
In the News

Janesville starts planning for medical shelters to help hospitals, if needed
The city is considering operating emergency medical shelters in case they’re needed to ease pressure on hospitals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rock County hospitals don’t need help, yet, but the city is gathering resources that could be activated if needed, Janesville police Sgt. Rob Perkins said.

The first step is creating a list of people with nursing experience who would be willing to volunteer to staff shelters, Perkins said.

The city sent out a news release Wednesday asking for volunteers.

As time goes on, the city will ask for volunteers to operate other functions of the medical shelters, Perkins. Read the story...

Governor Evers, Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, and WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes spoke with business leaders from around the state on March 25 regarding the impact of COVID-19 on their firms, implementation of the governor’s Safer at Home order, and financial assistance already available through federal disaster loans and WEDC programs. You can listen to their presentations here...

WisconsinEye Newsmakers: COVID-19 Update with League of WI Municipalities Executive Director Jerry Deschane

Rural counties ask MN and WI cabin owners to stay away, citing limited health resources, worries of coronavirus spreading
“We do not need ‘cabin people’ coming up and demanding life as usual in cabin country,” said Tammy Brenizer, owner of Brenizer MotorSports in Frederic, Wis.
At the same time, she said she depends on the annual migration of cabin-dwellers for her business. “It’s a catch-22 for us,” said Brenizer. Read the story here...

What Churchill Can Teach Us About Defeating Coronavirus
It’s amazing to read about how even after Great Britain endured 56 straight nights of bombing, Churchill still would not surrender. The Nazis were shocked that he was able to keep people with him through all of those terrible days.

He did it through communication. Through his powerful speeches, he made people believe they could endure, that they could fight on. He was honest about their situation (including the massive defeat at Dunkirk), which won their trust. And he told them how heroic they would be, which almost forced them to live up to the image he painted of them. Read the article here...

States brace for massive budget gaps in coronavirus recession
State governments have spent a decade stockpiling billions of dollars in reserve funds for the next economic downturn, scarred by the steep cuts they were forced to make in the midst of the last recession.

Now, with the coronavirus grinding the global economy to a virtual halt, those billions could be gone in a matter of months.

State and local experts say the coming months will be a bloodbath for governments that are required by law to maintain balanced budgets. They will be forced to choose between steep and painful cuts to social programs that are already underfunded or tax hikes at a time when millions of people will be unemployed. Read the story...
We go to work for you. Please stay home for us!

We know that you have been working hard to keep your community safe and services available. Thank you!

You can download this hot off the press "We go to work for you" graphic as a PDF here .

This work is the result of the League's partnership on messaging with UW Madison that we initiated March 16. Stay tuned for more.
Reminder - Small Business & Downtown Support

Wisconsin's Small Business Administration (SBA) office is offering daily webinars to answer questions regarding the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans , for small businesses owners impacted by COVID-19.

Register now.

10 am webinars:

2 pm webinars:

COVID-19 is a virus that has not previously infected humans and information about its rate of spread and its effects is still largely unknown, which makes it incredibly important to be highly cautious in dealing with the current situation. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will continue to provide the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. You are encouraged to monitor the site for updated guidance as the situation continues to evolve.

Want to share relevant and credible information to your Social Media?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Facebook & on Twitter (Scroll down to see more recent posts.)

The Wisconsin Dept of Health Services (DHS) on Facebook & on Twitter.

And the League's social media: