Dear Friends,

Happy Memorial Day! This weekend gives us a chance to thank those who protect our nation. I hope you are able to take a moment and remember the many brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. I also would like to thank the active members of our military who continue to protect our freedoms. Thank you!

Everyone in Wisconsin 12 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are eligible and are having trouble finding the COVID-19 vaccine in your area, the State of Wisconsin now has a map of vaccine providers. The website not only helps link people to the vaccine but also provides information on how the state is distributing doses. The state also has a COVID-19 Vaccine Assistance Hotline. The hotline is offering personal assistance for vaccine-related questions. The toll-free number is 1-844-684-1064.

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!
Closing the Achievement Gap
Recently, I took part in a promotional video for an exciting program to help low-income kids be better prepared for school. The program grew out of legislation I authored last session that creates a grant to fund early childhood education.

The most recent State of Wisconsin report cards showed over 60% of our students are not proficient in reading or math. Our kids are falling behind. The achievement gap in too many school districts is appalling.

Research consistently shows that making sure our youngest children arrive in kindergarten ready to learn is a tremendous indicator of future success. That's why I authored the law that created a grant to fund an online early learning program to help children better transition into kindergarten at no cost to families.

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) awarded that grant to Waterford Upstart. Innovative programs like Waterford Upstart will help us close the achievement gap and help provide a solid base for children to show up ready to learn when they reach kindergarten.

Especially during these times, it’s important to have online learning options with proven methods that lead to future success. If you know of a family that could benefit from Waterford Upstart, click here. And click on the video above to learn more.
Voter ID Turns 10
Ten years ago this week, requiring a valid voter ID to vote became law in Wisconsin. I'm proud to have co-sponsored that bill and supported this important election reform.

Opponents of this common-sense requirement fought it in court. They lost. They claimed it would result in lower turnout. They were wrong.

The 2016 April primary was the first election with the voter ID law in effect. That election resulted in more than 2.1 million votes cast. At the time, it was the highest number of votes cast in a presidential primary ever recorded.

The fight to protect our election integrity continues. During this session, I authored ten bills with Senator Duey Stroebel to restore trust and integrity in our elections. You can read more about those bills and the progress we are making here.
Governor Signs Three Darling Bills
Last Friday, the Governor signed three of my bills into law. Here is a brief summary of what they do.

  • The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), provides federal funding for prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities. Under current law, certain individuals are mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. These individuals, like school teachers and health care professionals, are granted civil or criminal liability from their report of child abuse, so long as the person is acting in good faith while making the report.
  • My bill extends this immunity to individuals who assist in medical examinations of a child as well as to individuals who provide information, assistance, or consultation in connection with a report, investigation, or legal intervention.

  • In 2018, the federal Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act. Family’s First changed the way Wisconsin will receive federal funds for child welfare services. 
  • In order to comply with CAPTA, my bill updates our statutes to ensure our child welfare providers are still eligible for federal funds. It also ensures Wisconsin taxpayers don’t pay more than their fair share to keep our child welfare system running.

  • Because of a quirk in the law, there was a chance this year's Wisconsin State Fair wouldn't be allowed to sell alcohol. My legislation makes sure this year's fair goes on as before.

Each of these bills received strong, bipartisan support throughout the legislative process. It is a great example of how we work together to get things done.
COVID-19 Vaccine, Testing Information
Please Donate Blood, Plasma
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 May 26, 2021 from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on coronavirus cases in our area.
Emergency Room Visits with COVID Symptoms
Around the 8th...