Dear Friends,

This week, the State Senate approved a bipartisan bill to update the state's troubled unemployment insurance system. The bill also includes a provision that saves the state more than one million dollars per week in federal funding that was put in jeopardy by a recent veto by Governor Evers. The bill now heads to the State Assembly.

Next Tuesday, I will chair the Senate Education Committee as we meet and discuss several appointments and two very important bills I authored. One bill requires all students in the state to learn about the Holocaust, while the other will inform student-athletes and their parents on the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest.

As the number of living Holocaust survivors and witnesses dwindle, it is up to us to ensure that the unforgivable events of the Holocaust and other genocides are not forgotten and never repeated. My goal is to ensure that Wisconsin students understand the important lessons of the Holocaust and the dangerous consequences of rising anti-Semitism and religious bigotry. The need for Holocaust education is critical for our society.

Also on Tuesday, the committee will hear testimony in favor of the Kai11 bill. It's named after Kai Lermer, who was a three-sport athlete at Waukesha North High School. Despite being only 16 and a great athlete, Kai died from sudden cardiac arrest. Regular school physicals for sports didn't detect the problems with Kai's heart.

My bill will provide information regarding the risks of sudden cardiac arrest, and how to request an electrocardiogram. The measure is based on a previous law I authored which raised awareness of the dangers of concussions in sports.

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!
Virtual Budget Address, Real Hardships for Wisconsin Families
Governor Tony Evers virtually-delivered his budget address this week, but it will bring real harm to Wisconsin's working families. It spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.

His plan raises taxes by more than $1 billion (during a pandemic!), increases spending by more than nine percent, and caps educational options for low-income families. Governor Evers also tries to eliminate the reforms from Act 10 that saved taxpayers nearly $14 billion. His proposal raises property taxes, allows for higher sales taxes, and increases taxes on businesses.

In the middle of a severe cold front in our state, the governor proposed doubling the tax on your heating and electric bills. And that's just what Governor Evers included in his plan, there's a lot missing.

There's no plan to speed up vaccinations, no plan to get kids back into the classroom, and no plan to fix his disastrous response to unemployment insurance. It's clear the governor's plan isn't a serious response to the issues facing Wisconsin. Once again, the Legislature will have to do the heavy lifting and create a budget that our taxpayers can afford.
Senate Protects Businesses from Stealth Tax Hikes
On Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Senate voted to stop that unanticipated tax hike. I'm glad Governor Evers agreed and signed the bill. Businesses awarded federal loans to protect employees from layoffs during the pandemic lockdown are facing a stealth tax hike from Governor Evers.

We lost too many businesses already to the shutdown, this tax hike would only make it worse. Tax increases now may lead to the job losses that the loans were intended to prevent. The emergency loans from the federal government were meant to be a lifeline to save businesses and jobs. It was never intended to be a slush fund for government.

According to data collected by the Small Business Administration, Wisconsin businesses seeking loans claimed they would retain nearly one million employees.
Stillborn Tax Credit Bill Introduced
A breath determines so much for these parents. It determines the difference between a birth certificate and a stillborn certificate. It determines the ability to claim your child’s life during tax season. Wisconsin can step up and help these bereaved parents by addressing the tax inequalities that arise for parents who had a child take one breath and for the parents whose child passed away shortly before this could occur.

The pain of losing a child through stillbirth takes a huge emotional toll on families. It can also be a financial burden. This week, I introduced legislation to help ease the financial burden for grieving parents. Under federal law, parents receive a $1,000 tax credit for eligible children. If a child takes his or her first breath and then passes away, parents are still eligible for this credit. However, in Wisconsin, if a child is stillborn, parents are not eligible for this credit.

My bill makes parents of a stillbirth eligible for a $2,000 refundable tax credit. I am currently seeking sponsors for this important legislation.
Safe Harbor Bill Introduced
Sex trafficking is a national tragedy, and it's happening right here in our state. All 72 counties are reporting cases of trafficking, and Milwaukee is considered a hub for the crime.

The statistics are disturbing:
  • Between June 2017 and August 2018, there were 99 reported cases of child sex trafficking in Wisconsin.  
  • On average, children are only 13 years old when they are trafficked for the first time.  
  • Traffickers are experts at targeting vulnerable children.  
  • One out of every three homeless teenagers are lured toward victimization by traffickers within just 48 hours of leaving home.  
  • An estimated 70 to 90 percent of youth victims of sex trafficking have histories of sexual abuse.

This week, I introduced bipartisan legislation to protect victims of sex trafficking. The Safe Harbor bill will make sure trafficked children won’t be charged as prostitutes and instead will be referred to victim services.

Under current law, an individual who is under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to sexual relations. Despite that, minors who have been forced into having sexual relations because of trafficking can still be prosecuted for prostitution. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have passed similar bills to protect victims.

The monsters who force children into sex trafficking will no longer be able to use the threat of prosecution for prostitution as a way to keep kids in a cycle of abuse. This simple change to the law is vital to ensuring that children who have been sex trafficked are recognized as victims, not criminals.
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 February 17, 2021 from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on coronavirus cases in our area.
Emergency Room Visits with COVID Symptoms
COVID-19 Testing Available
Around the 8th...
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.





The Wisconsin Department of Health 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.
8th Senate District Schools Status
Brown Deer School District
Students are now meeting four days per week of in-person learning. Wednesdays are held virtually.

Erin School District
In-person 5 days a week baseline.

Fox Point-Bayside School District
Hybrid model

Germantown School District 
All of its schools are in-person, five days a week.

Glendale-River Hills School District
Schools are meeting virtually.

Grafton School District
All schools are in-person, five days a week.

Hamilton School District
All schools are in-person.

Maple Dale-Indian Hill School District
Its K4, K5, and first-grade students are in-person four days a week. Students in grades 2-8 are in a hybrid model in which students attend school in-person two days a week and virtually three days a week.

Menomonee Falls School District
Grades 4K and 5K are in person, five days a week.
North Middle School and Menomonee Falls High School are in-person five days a week.

Mequon-Thiensville School District
All schools are in-person.

Milwaukee Public Schools 
All schools are virtual

Nicolet Union High School District
Students are in-person four days a week and virtual on Wednesdays.

University of School of Milwaukee
The pre-K through 12 campus offers in-person learning. University School of Milwaukee students and employees need negative COVID-19 tests before they can return,

Whitefish Bay School District
Most students will begin a phase-in to four days of in-class learning in March.
The Germantown Police Department's K9 unit is looking for your help. Currently, the department has two K9 officers, Hatto and Arek.

Click on the picture to find out more on how Hatto and Arek are serving the Germantown community and how you can help them continue to serve.
The Thiensville Fire Department is looking to hire firefighters. Click on the picture for more information.