March 30, 2020 - League of Wisconsin Municipalities - COVID-19 Update #13
COVID-19 Coronavirus Update
Explain it this way!
" To slow 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

Monday, March 30, 2020 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Join Zoom Meeting
Or simply Dial in 1 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 144 756 174

******

Friday, April 3, 2020 8:00 - 9:00 a.m . 
NOTE! Call in information will be different for Friday's call.

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.
POLICY ISSUES
Gov. Tony Evers Emergency Order #15
temporarily bans foreclosures and evictions
The order went into effective March 26 and shall remain in place for 60 days.
 
Under Emergency Order #15 , landlords are prohibited from serving any notice terminating a tenancy for failure to pay rent. As detailed in the order, landlords are also prohibited from commencing a civil action of eviction unless certain conditions are met. 
 
In relation to Emergency Order #12 (Safer-at-Home) , landlords or rental property managers shall avoid entering leased residential premises unless emergency maintenance is required. 

To support homeowners, renters and affordable housing providers, WHEDA has initiated a series of actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. WHEDA's response will include additional, innovative solutions in the days ahead. More information about WHEDA’s support and available resources can be found here .
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)
Elections
Federal judge throws out Green Bay lawsuit to delay election over coronavirus, but other suits still pending
A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit brought by the City of Green Bay that sought to delay the spring election and move it to mail in an effort to protect residents and poll workers from the coronavirus. Read the story in the March 27 Green Bay Press Gazette...
Elections Commission Issues Multiple Guidance Memos on Conducting the Spring Election During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the weekend, Wisconsin Election Commission staff issued several memos to municipal clerks on how to best conduct the spring election in the midst of a pandemic. The   public health guidance packet  for elections is posted on  WEC's website  and includes the following:

  • Checklist. This checklist was developed with the advice of a public health official to outline processes for conducting Election Day voting safely for voters and poll workers. Please review the checklist and incorporate these practices into your Election Day planning.

  • Poll Worker Health Screener. The public health official advising the WEC has suggested that on Election Day poll workers be screened to ensure that they can safely work. Attached you will find the screening questions to ask to poll workers. You may either choose to have each poll worker fill out the screener or post the screener and ask poll workers to read the questions and answer them.

  • Polling Place Signage. As is discussed in the attached checklist, it is advised that you place signs on the entrance and in relevant spots in the polling place to advise voters of procedures and enforce social distancing standards. Again, these signs were developed with the advice of a public health official. We will also be distributing printed signs to each county to be distributed to municipalities along with other supplies.  

  • Hospitalized Electors. At its March 27 meeting, the Commission voted to expand the definition of hospitalized elector to include voters in quarantine. We also worked with a public health official to discuss the recommended process to conduct the hospitalized elector process with quarantined voters. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and explains the expanded definition.

  • Curbside/ Drive-Through Procedures. Clerks have asked for guidance on how to conduct curbside voting in accordance with health guidance for those who are not able to enter the polling place. There have also been jurisdictions who have asked for advisement on how to conduct outdoor or “drive-through” voting. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and provides public heath procedures.

  • Absentee Witness Requirement. Clerks and voters have also asked for guidance on how absentee voters can have their ballot witnessed in accordance with public health guidance. This memo to clerks outlines the recommended process and provide suggested options for voters who are having difficulty meeting the witness requirement.
Election Worker Training Resources
The Local Government Center (LGC) at UW-Extension has created a ninety-minute election training that clerks can use to train new election workers. This training is free to any clerk that wishes to use it. Melissa Kono, County Extension Educator in Clark and Trempealeau Counties, created the training presentation and materials. Victoria Solomon, Green County Extension Educator, assisted with the training presentation and developed the Recruiting materials.

The resources are available  on the LGC website  so that a clerk can download it to use as required. These materials follow the Wisconsin Election Commission training guidelines. An individual can watch on their home computer or a computer at the local government office. The training is a recorded ZOOM webinar, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.

Election Worker Recruitment:
The Local Government Center has also developed resources that include a  sample recruitment pitch  (PDF) for clerks to use to recruit new election workers. 
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 March 23-27 is here .
Creative steps municipalities are taking to recruit enough poll workers for the Spring Election
The list is a compilation of responses the League of Wisconsin Municipalities received from a survey of municipal clerks the week of March 23-27. It can be found here .

The League's Coronavirus Elections page is here .
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is an “emergency responder” under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?

The Department of Labor (DOL) has provided the following guidance on the definition of “emergency responder:”

“For the purposes of employees who may be excluded from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA, an emergency responder is an employee who is necessary for the provision of transport, care, health care, comfort, and nutrition of such patients, or whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility. This also includes any individual that the highest official of a state or territory, including the District of Columbia, determines is an emergency responder necessary for that state’s or territory’s or the District of Columbia’s response to COVID-19.

To minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19, the Department encourages employers to be judicious when using this definition to exempt emergency responders from the provisions of the FFCRA.”

Click here for more DOL guidance regarding the FFCRA.


Are employees of a local health department or agency considered “health care providers” that may be excluded from paid leave under the FFCRA?

Yes. The Department of Labor issued guidance clarifying that a “health care provider” who may be excluded by their employer for purposes of emergency paid sick leave and/or expanded family and medical leave includes, among other things, anyone employed at a local health department or agency or at a nursing facility, retirement facility, or nursing home.
Frequently Asked Questions
From the League's past COVID-19 Newsletters

March 27, 2020




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.

Public Service Commission

NEW - Utility COVID-19 FAQs
The PSC has created a Utilities COVID-19 FAQ page on its website. 


Reminder - 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.     

Federal
Massive Federal Stimulus Package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Signed into Law

Last Friday, March 27, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the  CARES Act . Provisions in the Act helpful to municipalities are summarized by the National League of Cities  here .
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.
Communications
REQUEST - Please send us your photos typifying your experience from this pandemic for publication in the League's May magazine

Photos will be placed in chronological order. Our goal is to provide a look back at what was happening with you and with your municipalities during these few weeks. It doesn't matter what kind of work you do in service to your community, please share a photo or two!

Photos can be from your work with the City or Village or from your personal experience.

Send your photos straight from your Smartphone in the highest resolution possible to Sandy at league@lwm-info.org

Subject line should be easy for Sandy to flag: Photo for League magazine

In the body of your email, please include:

  • Municipality Name
  • Submitted by or Photo Taken by (so we can give you credit)
  • Date photo was take 
  • Short Caption - just a sentence or two explaining the photo.

We will include as many photos as we can. We will be accepting photos until April 10. You can submit more than once.
Please consider sharing Facebook posts from the Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services Facebook page to your own Facebook page. Scroll down their page to see what they've posted.

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

To slow 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 3:00 – 4:00 PM CST
 
Wednesday, Apr 1, 2020 1:00 – 2:00 PM CST
 
Friday, Apr 3, 2020 11:00 – 12:00 PM CST
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

COVID-19: Mayor Barrett announces former convent opening for at-risk, symptomatic homeless
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Sunday, March 29 announced a new plan to house those "with unstable housing" amid the coronavirus pandemic. The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County teamed up with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to use Clare Hall, the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi convent, unoccupied as of January 2020, to house the homeless who are susceptible to COVID-19, or symptomatic. Read the story...

Commentary from County Executive Delagrave: Stick together while keeping our distance (Racine)
Every single one of us must do our part to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus and ensure our fellow community members remain as healthy as they can be.

Staying home will help protect those on the front lines battling this virus – including our first responders, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, scientists, public health professionals, and long-term care facility employees. We thank those workers as well as the many others who have been working tirelessly — transportation workers, gas station attendants, grocery store workers, custodians and journalists, to name just a few. Read the story...

Wisconsin governor announces a statewide ban on evictions and foreclosures during coronavirus outbreak
Gov. Tony Evers banned landlords throughout Wisconsin from evicting tenants and ordered lenders statewide to halt foreclosure actions for 60 days, according to an emergency order issued Friday.

The order also brings to a halt sheriff's sales, which are the auctions where foreclosed properties are sold.

"Evictions and foreclosures pose a direct and serious threat to the health and well-being of Wisconsinites, especially as we ask that everybody remain safer at home," Evers said Friday during an online news conference. "This order is another step we can take to prioritize the health and safety of Wisconsinites during this public health emergency." 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

The relatively new Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation General Resources for Businesses is here.

League's Small Business and Downtown Resources includes this and other resources.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
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. 

LATEST UPDATES
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: