MARCH 16, 2020
Good Evening WPT Members:

I normally leave John alone to correspond with you weekly because he does such an excellent job conveying what’s important for you to know. I feel we have one of the best weekly legislative updates published in Wisconsin and based on readership feedback, you concur. We understand that you are being bombarded from other sources with the latest developments on Coronavirus, so we will pledge to only bring you the virus-related news necessary. We will still be fully reporting on other topics relating to state government and taxation, as business as usual continues in the State Capitol .

The purpose of my writing today is to share how WPT is reacting to the current Covid-19 pandemic. We are a small Wisconsin business with 10 full-time employees and 1 part-time employee. We are all in uncharted waters reacting to the reaction of the institutions of our country. WPT will do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our employees and valued members. WPT Member Representatives will continue to contact you by stopping by your farm or business. None of our employees are affected, and all have been directed to sterilize before and after any interactions. Further, any employees exhibiting symptoms or who need to attend to their families have been encouraged to stay home. Health and safety are our top priority.

It is more important now than ever before to have dialogue with you over the decision’s government will be making-- not only in pertains to this virus, but other issues. Again, business as usual is being conducted in the State Capitol, and your voice will continue to be represented. However, if you would desire to be contacted by some other means, we will respectfully accommodate you. If you have not already, we also urge you to review the CDC Interim Guidelines for Businesses and Employers.

Now more than ever, WPT needs to engage the governments affecting us with their decisions. We can’t afford to let them not consider the predicament their decisions will put small businesses in.

There is currently a bill the US House of Representatives passed, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, that would require small businesses to provide sick and family leave. Many of you do provide sick and family leave, but many of you would not survive the additional leave requirement associated with this bill. If US taxpayers feel some of their tax dollars should be spent on helping workers effected by COVID-19, I would support this. But don’t force small businesses without the means to finance this benefit, be forced out of business because of it. It would simply not be possible for many of us to survive this mandate. We all need to contact Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Tammy Baldwin with the contact information here and share our thoughts and concerns for these type of mandates.

There will be many more decisions federal, state and local governments will make in the coming days affecting our livelihoods. We will monitor them closely and protect your interest through the process. We will get through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this challenging time and remember, don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. Let us know if you need our help.

Mike Marsch
On Thursday, Governor Tony Evers declared a public health emergency throughout the State of Wisconsin as the number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 grew to eight. That number now stands at forty-six. The declaration allows for the Wisconsin government to request federal assistance and use state resources as they continue efforts to mitigate the spread of the novel virus.

On Friday, Governor Evers directed the Department of Health Services (DHS) to issue an order mandating the closure of all K-12 schools throughout Wisconsin, effectively sending about one million school children home until at least April 6.

"Closing our schools is not a decision I made lightly, but keeping our kids, our educators, our families, and our communities safe is a top priority as we continue to work to respond to and prevent further spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin," said Gov. Evers.

Immediately following Evers' Friday announcement, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a labor union, sent their list of requests to Governor Evers, including providing 14 sick days for all state workers and continued full health insurance benefits. The union also requested that no employees "should suffer or in any way be disciplined for calling in sick," and that any time off should not be counted against their accrued sick time. Further, they requested that all employees be given the opportunity to work from home, and that the state provide computers and all "necessary equipment" immediately.

Today, Governor Evers banned gathers of 50 or more individuals, and mandated that bars and restaurants limit the amount of their customers. Also earlier in the day, President Trump alongside CDC officials announced that American citizens should avoid groups of more than 10 individuals.

Officials from around Wisconsin also began sounding the alarm on the upcoming election, slated for Tuesday, April 7th. With the presidential preference on the ballot, and a statewide Wisconsin Supreme Court race, turnout could be high, causing large groups to congregate at polling locations.

Visit to request an absentee ballot.
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) last week released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary employment estimates for the month of January 2020.

The data shows that Wisconsin added 5,300 total non-farm and 5,200 private-sector jobs int he month of January. Wisconsin's labor force participation rate in January was 66.9 percent, and the state's unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

In a statement, the DWD said, "In Governor Evers' first year, Wisconsin added private sector jobs while unemployment remained at historic lows. Into year two and beyond, DWD and the Evers Administration will continue to work with partners throughout Wisconsin to create and enhance workforce initiatives to provide in-demand skills, remove barriers, increase wages, and strengthen family-supporting career opportunities."
Governor Tony Evers last week announced a new package of legislation that would assist local communities in dealing with and preventing major flood issues. With experts predicting the Spring of 2020 to cause widespread flooding, Evers is again calling on the legislature to reconvene to pass the legislation before the thaw continues.

One piece of the legislation would provide $10 million additional dollars to the Municipal Flood Control Grants (MFCG) program. That program funds floodproofing and flood elevation of public and private structures in the 100 year flood plain, flood water control detention ponds, river restoration, flood mapping, and more.

Another bill would create a Local Road Aids for Critical Infrastructure program, which requires the DOT to administer a flood mitigation program to provide counties, cities, towns, and villages with grants reimbursing up to 50% of the cost of modifying, replacing, or relocating highway culverts or bridges at risk from substantial impact from flooding. This would include up to $15 million in public debt.

The full $38.8 million package can be viewed here.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission said last week that it has identified 43 cases in the 2018 General Election of cross-state voting. That election resulted in incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker losing re-election narrowly to then-State Superintendent of Public Schools Tony Evers.

According the election officials, their agency has referred the cases to law enforcement for criminal prosecution. The commission also said that the 43 cases constitutes only 0.002% of the 2.6 million votes in that election.

The Electronic Registration Information Center tipped off the Wisconsin Elections Commission. That agency is a partnership between states that shares election registration data between states "that aims to assist states with improving accuracy in the polls."
President Donald Trump has approved Wisconsin's Disaster Declaration, which was requested by Governor Tony Evers following a severe winter storm that impacted the coastal counties of Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Racine.

Federal dollars will now be made available to both the state and local governments to recover from the storm damage. Funding for local nonprofit groups will also be made available.

The storm in mid-January brought widespread shoreline flooding and damage due to high winds. Infrastructure damage to shipping ports, breakwater walls, and other public and private property. FEMA will provide up to 75% of eligible costs, with state and local taxpayers sharing the remaining 25%.

Business and homeowners are not eligible for Public Assistance dollars.
Last week, the Department of Revenue (DOR) began the process of sending unclaimed property checks worth $3.3 million to over 32,000 people matched with unclaimed property. Additionally, the department sent 750 letters to potential claimants for unclaimed property worth an estimated 5.9 million. If they all respond, the payout will be worth a total of $9.2 million.

"We want to match owners with their property," says Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca. "Consider yourself fortunate if you receive one of these letters or checks because it means that we were able to match you to your unclaimed property. Be sure to follow the instructions and claim what is rightfully yours. Our goal is to match all unclaimed property to its rightful owner."

If the matched unclaimed property value is $2,000 or less, you will receive a check that you may cash because DOR has already verified you are the owner of that unclaimed property.

If the matched unclaimed property value is more than $2,000, you will receive a letter with instructions on how to claim the property. Follow the instructions on the letter to make an official claim.

You can check to see if you have unclaimed property by clicking here.
After the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Trade unanimously approved Senate Bill 157 last week, the City of Superior is one step closer to being granted authority from the state to create an exposition district to improve their downtown.

The legislation would allow the City of Superior to create and collect taxes on "prepared foods," and beverages and to impose taxes on rooms. The taxes would be an additional 2% on those items. Voters must approve the creation of the exposition district before the taxes would take effect, and a sunset clause has been built in to the legislation.

According to the Superior Telegram, "The taxes would create a public source of funding to leverage private investment in facilities that would enhance tourism and improve quality of life in Superior."
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After reading the article: do you agree with Wisconsin joining 18 other states in suing President Trump's administration over the diversion of funds for the southern border wall?
Our country should follow the constitution, if funds are appropriated in a certain way that is the way they should be spent. I think our President should work with Congress on Boarder Security. There is not only one way to solve the problem.

Wasted money and/or wasted time.

President Trump is trying to correct a situation that has been swept under the rug by too many of the previous administrations. It's about time someone takes the bull by the horns!

The wall is a waste aof money!

Evers & Kaul are using their executive powers trying to block the executive powers of the President, the liberals will block anything Trump attempts.

More waste of tax payers money and our Congress should have provided funds but they care about our USA

We need to secure the sothern border. What if the newest pandemic starts in Central America or Mexico?

Partisan manure pit.

Stop suing people... Finally we are getting a border,, let it be built.

Congress clearly said no...

Waste of time again. I also did not want Social Security funds to be used for impeachment.

one hundred percent political, send it to voters at election time

The wall is a bog a joke as our current president.

time to crack down on illegals - look at the crime reports, high number of illegals causing the majority of problems

All it is, is a democrate vrs republican! All these politicians want to do is sue, and let the tax payers pay for it!

stupid. build the wall

We need the border wall.If somebody wants to come here they should follow the law!

We need to protect our border!

We should have done something about our borders a long time ago.
Do you think parents should be required to have their seventh-graders vaccinated against bacterial meningitis?
My husband had meningitis as a child, its a terrible disease. Parents vaccinate your children.

I'm not for anyone being forced to do something, but at the same time why not?

The government is always held accountable when something goes wrong,so it is imperative that they make rules to protect all citizens

I would rather see parents be wise to the benefit of this vaccine and make sure their child gets it

up to the parents

I am so sick of parents that do not any kind of vaccination for their children when these vaccines could solve alot of our health problems

need to know more

I think that it should be up to parents. The only way it should be up to the government is if it is a major health threat, or a current outbreak.

If it is something that spreads,, yes than the government should be in charge

Government needs to stay out of raising our children, they already have to much regulation

It should be up to the parents. However, many times they are mislead on the pros and cons of vaccinations.

vaccinate or home school.

up to parents - government shouldn't control every aspect of your life

What's the problem with having them vaccinated?

When the wealthy legislators & their minions pay for compulsoryspending by peasants

Parents should decide if they want their children vaccinated with some guidance from their children's doctor.
Governor Evers signed a bill last week dealing with clinical trials. After reading the article: Good bill or bad bill?
Cancer patients are desperate for a cure.

Let them try

The more people that have access to clinical trials, the better. This is how new drugs and medical technologies are developed - which benefit everyone. Additionally, clinical trials offer superior care to participating patients.

no brainer

GOV. Evers finally did a good thing

Yes people with cancer need help with medicine, transportation.

one wishes the sick well but it should not be at taxpayer expense

Everyone should be able to participate in clinical trials.

If patients have to pay out of pocket first only the people who can afford it will go.
Wisconsin will add 12 new circuit court branches to the system beginning next year, to help off-set increasing drug and alcohol-related caseloads. Good move or bad move?
People deserve efficient justice so more judges are good. We will never solve our country's appetite for drugs and alcohol solely with laws and punishment.

It seems like an awful lot of money.

It's sad that this is necessary. Seems like more funding should be designated to substance abuse treatment and prevention. The root cause is a public health problem, not a judicial problem.

this is only going to get worse if we legalize pot as the increase use of other drugs will rise

Its to bad that we have add more courts just to protect society from people that do not behave themselves

Legalize marijuana and get rid of some of the work load instead.

lets get serious on crime and eliminate the repeat offenders

The courts ARE jammed.

legalization of pot woulda been alot cheaper!

need more info - why is this a good idea? will it help alleviate backlogs or just create more bureaucracy?

More taxes

Make sure they pay higher court costs to cover the added expense. Not the taxpayers

Who is paying for the extra judges?
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LRB-5787   Memo  Body Camera Grants (McGuire, Tip) Grants to law enforcement agencies for body cameras and making an appropriation. Deadline: Monday, March 16, Noon

LRB-5593   Memo  Flood Tax Deduction (Considine, Dave) Income tax deduction for flood insurance premiums. Deadline: Thursday, March 12, 5 pm

LRB-5792   Memo  Resource Management Program (Erpenbach, Jon) Bonding for the soil and water resource management program and granting bonding authority. Deadline: Thursday, March 12, 5 pm

LRB-5597   Memo  Disaster Payments (Schachtner, Patty) Disaster assistance payments and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, March 12, 5 pm

LRB-5808   Memo  Disaster Payments (Meyers, Beth) Disaster assistance payments and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, March 12, 5 pm

LRB-4578   Memo  Flood Mitigation Program (Bewley, Janet) Creating a flood mitigation program in the Department of Transportation, granting rule-making authority, and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, March 12, 5 pm

LRB-4579   Memo  Municipal Flood Control (Smith, Jeff) Funding for the municipal flood control program and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, March 12, 5 pm

LRB-5591   Memo  Highway Aid (Meyers, Beth) Aids for certain highways damaged by disaster. Deadline: Thursday, March 12, 5 pm

LRB-5802   Memo  Juvenile Justice (Goyke, Evan) juvenile court jurisdiction; the serious juvenile offender program; extending out-of-home care to 21 years of age for certain persons; juvenile interrogations; deferred prosecution agreements and diversion services for juveniles; the authority of school districts and school resource officers to respond to school-based behavior; providing an exemption from emergency rule procedures; providing an exemption from rule-making procedures; granting rule-making authority; and making an appropriation. Deadline: Thursday, March 19, 5 pm