Dear Friends,

I hope you are well. The 2021 rankings for best high schools in the state are out and once again, several area schools are on the list! The annual rankings are put out by Niche.com. The website gives high marks to Whitefish Bay (#2), Homestead (#7), Nicolet (#8), Menomonee Falls (#21), Germantown (#25), Hamilton (#26), and Grafton (#35). Congratulations to all of our great schools!

This week, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a review of how Governor Evers has spent the $2 billion from the federal CARES Act meant to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, the governor has announced $1.87 billion in programs with $127.3 million remaining. Any funding not used by December must be returned to the federal government.
 
Earlier this year, the legislature acted quickly and passed a COVID-19 Response bill. The bill cut red tape and allows the administration to act quickly to respond to the needs of our constituents. 
 
The COVID-19 Response Bill: 
  • Removes the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits
  • Removes co-pays for COVID-19 testing
  • Expands SeniorCare to cover vaccinations
  • Allows pharmacists to extend prescriptions
  • Sets aside $75 million for future unexpected needs
  • Prohibits health insurance coverage discrimination based on COVID-19
  • Qualify Wisconsin for extra federal resources to help fund Medicaid
  • Eases licensing requirements for healthcare professionals and emergency medical responders
  • Provides the needed flexibilities to school districts to complete the school year online
  • Asks WEDC to develop a plan to help the state's major industries to recover
 
I'm proud to have supported this bill because it's more than bi-partisan. The ideas in this legislation came from Republicans, Democrats, and experts affected by the pandemic and the shutdown. It is truly Wisconsin-made solutions to the crisis we all face. 

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!
Thousands Still Wait for Unemployment
Thousands of Wisconsin residents are still waiting for the Evers administration to process their unemployment claims, many have waited since April.

On Monday, I sent a letter along with Representatives Janel Brandtjen, Jim Ott, and Dan Knodl to the Evers Administration asking for the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to further utilize the tools provided to the administration to shift staff between agencies as well as expand call center hours.

A recent news story highlighted the struggles of Brittney Gitzlaff of Menomonee Falls. Brittney is still waiting for answers from the Department of Workforce Development - eight months after filing her claim.

Hundreds of constituents have reached out to our offices - some experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, issues with mental health, and trouble accessing critical medications. Back in May, DWD promised to fix the backlog by October. While the department has announced some changes, it's not enough.

I'm grateful to see DWD is implementing Google Cloud to help ease the massive backlog of cases, but we've heard excuses before. This doesn't change the fact that thousands of families in Wisconsin have been waiting months and months for money they already paid into the system.

Like Brittney, we are still waiting for a response from Governor Evers.
WMC Report Shows State in Good Fiscal Shape
This week the state's largest business advocate, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) praised our financial situation and our "prudent budgeting."

WMC released their Wisconsin Annual Fiscal Report. The report shows our state ended the fiscal year with a "$1.2 billion balance in addition to a $106 million transfer to the state’s rainy day fund – growing it to a record $762 million."

I am proud of our work on the state's finances. Republicans have been careful with the money provided by taxpayers and we stopped Governor Evers’ attempt to increase spending by more than $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the state. We also stopped his $1 billion in tax hikes which would be a disaster for working families who lost their job due to the lockdowns.

The Rainy Day Fund is for exactly this type of situation. Just like how families put money away for future use, Republicans made investments in the Rainy Day Fund in good times to protect taxpayers in difficult times.
COVID-19 Cases in Our Area
The table above contains data reported on October 21, 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 three percent.

COVID-19 Testing Available
Enjoy the Fall Colors
Around the 8th...