Dear Friends,

I hope you are well. I've had the honor of serving as the co-chair of the budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance longer than any other woman in state history. It's a privilege that I don't take for granted. I know I am standing on the shoulders of giants.

That's why it's important to note that one hundred years ago this week, the state of Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. With Tennessee's support, the amendment was officially added to the Constitution.

But it all began with Wisconsin becoming the first state to ratify the amendment. You can find out a lot more about our state's role in giving women a voice in politics by clicking here.

In this week's e-update, find out how kids will have more help this fall, updated data on our state's fight against COVID-19 and more.

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!
Helping Students Through A Crisis
The lock downs have been especially tough on the mental health of young people. One of the reasons it is important for kids to be in school as much as possible is so they will be able to get mental health care if they need it.

In the budget, we doubled current funding for student mental health programs so that all students have access to professional assistance. Our total investment in mental health funding reached $18.57 million.

Another resource for kids comes from a bill I authored with Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke of Kaukauna. Wisconsin Act 117 allows the Medical College of Wisconsin to create a school-based mental health consultation pilot program. The pilot is run by the Medical College of Wisconsin and funded with $175,000 annually from the Department of Health Services. School personnel will be educated on how to manage mental health concerns in the classroom, where to refer complex cases, and will also receive educational training seminars.

According to a 2018 report from the Office of Children's Mental Health, 24% of Wisconsin teens have been diagnosed with a mental illness. The same report shows our state is lacking in providing access to the care they need. This bill will help connect school-aged children with mental health professionals.
Back to School Plans

Here is a quick summary of the back-to-school plans for our local districts.

Brown Deer: Families will have the option to choose between virtual learning or a five-phase gradual return to face-to-face learning.

Foxpoint-Bayside: The district will use a hybrid model with students having in school instruction twice a week and virtual instruction twice a week with unstructured learning on Fridays. Kindergarten will be in school four days a week.

Germantown: Parents will be able to pick between face-to-face instruction or virtual learning.

Glendale-River Hills: School will begin virtually.

Grafton: Students will have the option of virtual learning or face-to-face instruction with social distancing.

Hamilton: Families will have the option to choose in-person or virtual instruction.

Maple Dale - Indian Hill: School will start on September 1st with a hybrid model. Students will be in school for two days and will learn virtually three days. The district hopes to return to full in-person learning in October.

Menomonee Falls: Students will choose between all virtual instruction or a hybrid option depending on attendance and health data.

Mequon-Thiensville: Originally, students were to return to class five days a week.This week, the school board reversed course and switched to virtually learning.

Milwaukee Public Schools: School will begin virtually and will move to a hybrid model in 30 to 45 days.

Nicolet Union High School District: School will begin with virtual learning.

For more details on district plans, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel compiled a list of area schools and their status. You can find that article here.
COVID-19 Cases in Our Area
The table above contains data reported on August 19, 2020 from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on coronavirus cases in our area.
COVID-19 Cases by Age in Wisconsin
Emergency Room Visits with COVID Symptoms
According to data from the Center for Disease Control, emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms are around two percent.

COVID-19 Testing Available
Around the 8th...
Recently, I was honored to receive a "Building Wisconsin" award from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin (ABC). The group recognized my efforts to deal with important issues facing the building industry including address the construction skills gap and open competition for public projects.

Thanks to ABC member Jake Curtis for presenting me with this award!

I was also honored to be named a "Friend of Public Health" by the Wisconsin Public Health Association and the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards! Thank you!
Go Bucks!