Dear Friends,

Without providing details, Governor Evers announced Wisconsin residents 65 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting January 25th. While I continue to press for a plan from Governor Evers, our local health departments are doing their best to keep you informed on the COVID-19 vaccine.

You can sign up for emails to stay updated on when you can be vaccinated by visiting our county health department websites. Click on your county's health department for more information. Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, North Shore Health Department, Milwaukee County Health Department, Waukesha County Health Department.

The Wisconsin Department of Home Services also recommends that you contact your healthcare provider to sign up to be vaccinated. You can also register with Meijer Pharmacy and they will notify you when the vaccine is available.

Please be careful and continue to follow CDC guidelines, wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands. It’s important to avoid lockdowns that create their own health crises in delayed medical care, mental health stresses, and the loss of businesses and jobs.

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!
Republicans Press Evers for Vaccine Answers
As our state falls to the bottom in the Midwest for vaccination rate, Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate are demanding Governor Evers take the issue seriously and provide answers. On Friday, we sent a letter to Evers outlining concerns and demanding answers.

My office has been asking for a plan since mid-December. One month late, we still can’t tell our constituents when they can expect to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, the Governor insists he’s doing a good job. Last in the Midwest is not a good job.

Providers have described contacting the Department of Health Services regarding vaccines as “…like shouting into a well” and a “very bizarre, disorganized effort.” There are also inconsistencies with the Governor’s rollout including:

  • Assisted living homes wait to receive vaccines, while health systems have already vaccinated employees who have been working remotely since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  
  • There are also reports that hospitals have vaccinated employees who do not work with patients, and therefore, should not qualify for Phase 1A eligibility. Meanwhile, there are unaffiliated healthcare employees and first responders throughout the state who are still desperately waiting for a vaccine.  
  • While some states will soon provide 24/7 vaccinations, in Wisconsin vaccinations drop significantly on weekends.
  • There are no final decisions from Governor Evers on who will qualify for the next round of vaccinations and no timeline for the general public.
  • Janesville schools announced they would close schools and vaccinate teachers on January 22nd, even though teachers are not included in the first round of vaccinations.

We don’t expect perfect, but we do expect a plan. The governor loves to blame the federal government for his failure, but he isn’t even distributing the vaccines will have on hand. Time and time again when Wisconsin needed leadership from Tony Evers, he failed the state.
Please Donate Blood, Plasma
Our hospitals are being overwhelmed by the pandemic. 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 January 20, 2021 from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on coronavirus cases in our area.
Emergency Room Visits with COVID Symptoms
COVID-19 Testing Available
Holocaust Education
As the number of living Holocaust survivors and witnesses dwindle, it is up to us to ensure that the unforgivable events of the Holocaust are never forgotten or repeated.

That's why, with the help of the Wisconsin-based Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center (HERC), I am reintroducing legislation to require Holocaust education in our schools. HERC is providing the curriculum for teachers at no cost to schools.

The need for Holocaust education is growing and the statistics are troubling.

  • 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.
  • A 2018 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents in Wisconsin showed a 22% increase in anti-Semitic incidents.
  • In 2019, more than 25% of all the recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Wisconsin took place among students or on campus.
  • Nationally, assaults against Jewish nearly doubled in 2018.
  • Two-thirds of American millennials surveyed could not identify Auschwitz.

I am currently seeking co-sponsors for this important bill. It's my hope Wisconsin will become the 17th state to mandate Holocaust education in schools.
Bi-Partisan Expungement Reform
It has been an extremely tough year for many. As we continue to move closer and closer to a sense of normalcy, we can expect to once again have a workforce shortage.

On Wednesday, I joined Senator Kelda Roys and Representatives David Steffen and Evan Goyke to unveil bipartisan legislation that provides pathways to employment for individuals through criminal justice reform. Our goal is to help the many hardworking people who won’t have a chance at employment because of a mistake made years ago. Expungement reform will give them a chance to support themselves and their families while helping the needs of employers throughout our state.

Expungement refers to a process where a person can petition to have his or her record expunged (or sealed) of a non-violent, lower-level offense. An individual is only eligible for expungement if they meet certain criteria. Currently, a judge can only order that an individual is eligible for expungement at the time of sentencing and it is only available to individuals under the age of 25. This bill would allow a judge to order that a record be expunged after a person completes his or her sentence, and removes the arbitrary age limit of 25. The legislation also ensures for employment purposes that an expunged record does not prohibit an individual from obtaining a professional license in Wisconsin.

The bill was circulated for co-sponsorship on Wednesday and will be introduced in February.
Bi-Partisan Police Reform Introduced
Law enforcement does a great job, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be better. This week, I joined former police officer and chair of the Senate Judiciary & Public Safety Committee Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) to introduce seven bills focused on maintaining effective law enforcement service while
improving the accountability and transparency of police and increasing community involvement.

The package was developed through conversations last summer between the senators, law enforcement, and reform advocates. I’m excited and encouraged to find common ground to foster a better relationship between the police and the communities they serve.

The legislative package of bills, known as the Public Safety PACT, includes the following bills:
  • Reforms to the dysfunctional and controversial Milwaukee Fire and Police
  • Commission and Madison Police and Fire Commission
  • Creation of a first-in-the-nation NTSB-type advisory board to analyze use-of-force
  • incidents and recommend ways to prevent them
  • Whistleblower protections and mandatory use of force reporting for police
  • A Community-Oriented Policing (COP) grant program
  • Publication of use-of-force policies
  • Annual reporting of use-of-force incidents
  • Prohibiting training the use of chokeholds

The bills were put out for co-sponsorship on Wednesday and will be formally introduced in the Senate next month.
Around the 8th...
The Thiensville Fire Department is looking to hire firefighters. Click on the picture for more information.