Dear Friends,

I hope you are well. Congratulations to Menomonee Falls! The Falls is on Money's 2020 Best Places to Live list. They are ranked fifteenth out of online magazine's top 50. Money highlights some of Menomonee Falls' features including convenience, low unemployment rate, and affordability.

This week, Governor Evers extended his mask mandate. While I encourage mask use, I disagree with the governor's move. He continues to refuse to work with the Legislature, even though our laws require it. Our rights do not go away during a pandemic.

State law requires a vote from the Legislature in order to extend a public health emergency, in order protect each of our rights from unconstitutional overreach. The governor is setting a dangerous precedent. Right now, there are multiple ongoing legal challenges to Governor Evers' mask mandate. In the meantime, please continue to wear a mask, maintain social distance recommendations, and wash your hands.

In this week's E-update I focus on a new law I authored will help make health care cheaper and safer, the significant improvements in mental health treatment in Wisconsin, and the fall color report. You can find all that and much more below.

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

On, Wisconsin!
Step Therapy Makes Health Care Cheaper, Safer
The cost of health care is always a top concern for me. This session, I wrote a new law that will help lower costs, make health care safer, and keep decisions between patients and their doctors.

Step therapy is a process used by health plans that determines the order in which prescription drugs should be given to patients. While the goal is to lower health care costs, it can be an obstacle between patients and the care their doctors prescribe for them.

Too often, a physician prescribes a particular drug treatment for a patient, but the patient’s insurance company requires them to try a cheaper treatment or series of treatments first. The patient is not able to try the second treatment until the first one is proven to “fail.” This delay can continue on through multiple medications before the insurer will finally consider covering the original prescription.

By putting common-sense exceptions to step therapy into law, we will be giving you, the patient access to the care your doctor prescribes. My new law helps provide transparency to this process and makes sure patients get the best care, quicker.
Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 
More than one million adults in Wisconsin need help in improving their literacy skills. That's why I took part in Wisconsin Literacy's Adult Education and Family Literacy Week.

Children of parents who read are more likely to succeed in school. Click on the link to hear why reading is important to me and see my book recommendation!
September is Suicide Prevention Month
September is Suicide Prevention Month but the lock downs are leading to a mental health crisis in our country. According to the Center for Disease Control, one quarter of young adults have thought about suicide during this pandemic.

Our state had a mental health crisis before the pandemic and it's clear the lock downs are making it worse. I'm grateful my colleagues and I made fighting this crisis a top priority.

The need is great. Teen suicide has doubled since 2007. Our state ranks near the bottom in the number of youth who experienced a major depressive episode, but did not get mental health services. Twenty-four percent of kids in our state are diagnosed with a mental illness. We are ranked too low (36th) in the number of mental health workers who can help. I fought to change those rankings.

Investing in mental health was a huge priority in the state budget. I made sure we doubled current funding for student mental health programs to help kids access needed services. Our total investment in mental health funding reached $18.57 million. I also led on investing in the Child Psychiatry Consultation Program which connects primary care doctors with child psychiatrists so they can adequately treat the kids in their care.

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 funded with $175,000 annually from the Department of Health Services and will educate school personnel on how to manage mental health concerns in the classroom, where to refer complex cases, and will also receive educational training seminars.

That won't be the only help kids will have in school. I also wrote a bill that will fund peer-to-peer suicide prevention programs for our schools. Peer-to-peer programs like "Hope Squad" and "Sources of Strength" are making a real difference in preventing suicides. The programs help change the way kids talk about mental health, train peers to identify signs of crisis and seek help, and train student leaders for kids to contact when they need additional support.

Tragically, suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in our state. For kids between the ages of 10 and 18, it's the second leading cause of death. Peer-to-Peer programs will help kids see a support network in their school and help them understand that they are not alone.

Another bill of mine that became law will make sure parents are involved in their child's mental health care. My bill enables mental health providers to receive reimbursements for consultations with parents about their children. This new law will help make sure parents are aware of and participating in their children's treatment plan.

Money and new laws won't completely solve the mental health crisis in our state, but I am proud of the efforts we've made to make this issue a priority. If you know someone in crisis, don't be afraid to ask the tough questions.
COVID-19 Cases in Our Area
The table above contains data reported on September 23, 2020 from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on coronavirus cases in our area.
Emergency Room Visits with COVID Symptoms
According to data from the Center for Disease Control, emergency room visits for COVID-19 symptoms are around one percent.

COVID-19 Testing Available
Remember to Get Your Flu Shot
While we wait for a vaccine for COVID-19, don't put off getting a flu shot this year. Flu season is almost here. Click on the video above for more information on why you should get a flu shot.
Around the 8th...