Dear Friends,

This week, some students in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system were finally allowed back into the classroom. However, many parents found out their kids couldn't get to school because they weren't picked up by a bus.

Despite millions of dollars in extra federal funding and 13 months to come up with a plan, MPS canceled more than 160 bus routes and 80 buses on the first day of class. It appears the district let contracts lapse and left parents in the lurch.

This is unacceptable. All kids need to be back in the classroom. The lockdowns are having a devastating effect on children's mental health and academic success. It's irresponsible that MPS officials are putting more barriers in the way of students trying to return to the classroom, especially when the CDC said months ago that it would be safe.

Everyone in Wisconsin 16 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are eligible and having trouble finding the COVID-19 vaccine in your area, the State of Wisconsin now has a map of vaccine providers. The website not only helps link people to the vaccine but also provides information on how the state is distributing doses. The state also has a COVID-19 Vaccine Assistance Hotline. The hotline is offering personal assistance for vaccine-related questions. The toll-free number is 1-844-684-1064.

Please continue to be careful and follow CDC guidelines. Continue to wear a mask when necessary, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and get vaccinated.

As always, if you have any concerns or ideas on how to improve our great state, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at 608-266-5830 or by email at Sen.Darling@legis.wisconsin.gov.

On, Wisconsin!
Holocaust Education Bill Heads to Governor
Wisconsin is poised to become the 17th state to require Holocaust education in all schools. On Tuesday, the State Assembly unanimously approved bipartisan legislation I authored to guarantee that Wisconsin students learn about the Holocaust and other genocides at least once during middle school and once during high school. 

Two-thirds of American millennials surveyed could not identify Auschwitz. Twenty-two percent of millennials in the poll said they haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure whether they’ve heard of it — twice the percentage of U.S. adults who said the same. 

The need for Holocaust education is greater than ever. As the number of living Holocaust survivors dwindles, this legislation will make sure their eye-witness accounts and stories live on. It’s my hope this bill will help foster understanding and empathy for different people and cultures. The history and lessons of the Holocaust are being lost. Future generations must be taught about what happened to make sure it never happens again.

The Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will provide the materials, programming, and professional development necessary to implement this requirement at no additional costs to schools. Over the past few months, HERC has built a comprehensive website that includes over 140 lesson plans (with even more in development) for schools to use free of charge.

Please take a moment and watch the video above of my friend and Holocaust survivor, Eva Zaret, as she talks about her experience and the need for Holocaust education.
Senate Approves Protections for Election Observers, Workers
This week, the Senate Senate approved a bill I authored with Representative Paul Tittl of Manitowoc that protects election observers and workers. Senate Bill 210 solidifies the rights of poll observers and protects the men and women who volunteer as election workers.

Under our bill, election observers must be allowed uniform and nondiscriminatory access to all stages of the election process, including the certification of election technologies, early voting, absentee voting, voter appeals, vote tabulation, and recounts. It also includes protections for poll workers so it will be easier for communities to find people to help on Election Day. When the rules are clear for everyone, our election process will be much smoother.

The bill now heads to the State Assembly for further consideration.
Senate Committee Hears More Election Reforms
Also this week, the Senate Committee on Elections, Election Process Reform, and Ethics held a public hearing on my bill with Representative David Steffen of Green Bay to make the absentee voting process is the same for everyone in the state.

In Wisconsin, voters have multiple ways to vote early. A voter can vote absentee by mail, or voters can request and vote absentee in person. While both options are called “absentee” by the Wisconsin Election Commission, the agency allowed a different process for each. 

Current law states a voter who wishes to vote absentee may make a written application to their clerk or municipality requesting a ballot. This resulted in a non-uniform process throughout our state. There was confusion on what form, if any, they needed to fill out and what information is recommended.

While current law also does not prescribe a specific form of written application for requesting an absentee ballot, the Wisconsin Elections Commission created form EL-122 as their official absentee ballot application certificate. 

Senate Bill 211 clarifies the process and intent of our voting laws to require a separate and distinct application form that contains the information currently asked for in the form EL-122. This simple change will mean our elections will be consistent and equal for everyone no matter where they live.
COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing Information
Please Donate Blood, Plasma
One way you can help is by donating blood. If you have recovered from COVID-19, please especially consider donating your plasma.

You can find out where to donate here and here.
COVID-19 Cases in Our Area
The table above contains data reported on April 14, 2021 from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on coronavirus cases in our area.
Emergency Room Visits with COVID Symptoms
Around the 8th...