Dear Friends,

I hope you are well. There is a disturbing trend happening in our society. Younger people aren't learning or aren't being taught the truth about the past. A recent study highlights this. Almost two-thirds of young people in the United States don't know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Even worse, more than 10% believe Jewish people were responsible for the Holocaust. 
 
This hurts my heart to read. It shows the real need to pass my bipartisan bill to require Holocaust education in our schools. There are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors left to tell their stories. We can't let the unforgivable events of the Holocaust be forgotten or repeated. My bill will help make sure that doesn't happen in Wisconsin.
 
In this week's e-update, a new law I wrote will help close the achievement gap, how I've worked to lower suicides in our state, and you can help decide the coolest thing made in Wisconsin. All that and updated COVID-19 information for our area 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 Sen.Darling@legis.wisconsin.gov.

On, Wisconsin!
Darling Law Will Help Close Achievement Gap
Our kids are falling behind. The achievement gap in too many school districts is appalling. That's why I authored a new law that creates a pilot program to create an online early learning program to help young children better transition into kindergarten.
 
Especially during these times, it’s important to have online learning options with proven results. Recently, The Department of Public Instruction awarded $500,000 in matching grants to the Waterford Upstart program. Waterford Upstart helps low-come, four-year-old children prepare for school at home for free.
 
Innovative programs like Waterford Upstart will help us close the achievement gap and provide a solid base for children to show up ready to learn when they reach kindergarten.
 
You can read more about Waterford and the law I authored with Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt here.
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.
What's the Best Thing Made in Wisconsin?
Our state makes amazing things. Now you can help decide what is the coolest thing made in Wisconsin.
 
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce are once again letting you vote on more than 100 products to decide the coolest thing made here. The first round of voting is open through Sunday evening.
 
There are several companies in the running from our area including:










And many more amazing products from around Wisconsin!

COVID-19 Cases in Our Area
The table above contains data reported on September 16, 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...