Wednesday September 30, 2020

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Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District

Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District

State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) - A former radio personality and legislative assistant, Erpenbach was elected to represent the 27th Senate District in November of 1998 and was re-elected in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. Jon’s Senate colleagues elected him Senate Democratic Leader in December 2002. He served in that position until December 2004.
Senator Erpenbach has worked in the Legislature to regulate issue ads since his election in 1998 to the Senate, that includes working on bipartisan proposals to limit outside spending in elections and shed light on who is spending money to influence the outcomes of elections and legislation.
For more information please contact his office at 608-266-66790 or 888-549-0027 or sen.erpenbach@legis.wi.gov

Now is Not the Time for Senate Recess

Posted by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) - A former radio personality and legisla
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 02 September 2020
in Wisconsin

scott-fitzgeraldRepublicans came to the floor and gaveled in Monday, but delayed action. Legislature should listen and act now, says Sen. Erpenbach.


WEST POINT, WI - The Wisconsin Legislature must rise to meet this moment. In March, Breonna Taylor was killed while officers executed a no-knock warrant on her home. In May, George Floyd was killed after being arrested by the Minneapolis Police. On August 23rd, a Kenosha Police Officer fired seven shots at Jacob Blake’s back; causing him to be paralyzed from the waist down. Reform is necessary.

In June, Governor Evers released a package of bills designed to begin to restore equal justice in Wisconsin. The bills are an attempt to address real issues that we need to take on in order to make real change. Republicans in the Legislature did not act in June. In fact it has been 138 days since they have done anything at all. Nothing to address unemployment, nothing to address the continued demands of a global pandemic, nothing to address racial justice.

jon-erpenbach-radioThe Republican answer to all of our state’s pressing issues has been to create a task force. How can we be expected to take that seriously when just 3 out of the 30 bills introduced by the Speaker’s numerous task forces have resulted in anything at all? Democrats stand ready to meet this moment and bring about the change that has been desperately needed for far too long.

Monday Republicans came to the floor and gaveled in because they had to; because the rules of a special session called by the Governor require them to. It is now up to them how they answer the demands for justice being heard around Wisconsin.

We stand with those calling for change, with those peacefully protesting injustice. We share the anger and frustration of those who want the Legislature to act. We can no longer turn our backs on this moment and wait for it to pass.

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It’s Well-Past Time for Wisconsin to Expand Medicaid

Posted by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) - A former radio personality and legisla
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 22 August 2020
in Wisconsin

medicare-patientBottom line, far too many Wisconsinites are without coverage, making our state even more vulnerable to the threat at hand.


WEST POINT – In this month’s primary election, Missouri voted to expand Medicaid. The initiative that made its way onto the ballot will expand coverage to about 230,000 low-income residents, and was supported by over 53% of voters, making Missouri the 38th state, and the sixth Republican-led state, to do so. When given the chance to be heard, Missouri’s citizens said ‘yes’ to providing medical coverage to those who need it most – and it’s time for Wisconsin to follow-suit.

Despite the fact that an overwhelming 70% of Wisconsinites support expanding Medicaid, legislative Republicans have spent the last nine years playing politics and refusing to accept federal dollars that would extend coverage to tens of thousands of our states most vulnerable citizens. And Wisconsinites have been paying the price, literally. In this budget cycle alone, accepting Medicaid funding would’ve saved $324.5 million in state taxpayer money, and brought in over $1.6 billion in additional federal dollars for health care services that could benefit our struggling rural hospitals and clinics. Instead, our taxpayer money is going towards the expansion of Medicaid programs in other states like Illinois and New York.

jon-erpenbachWhile it’s clear that when it comes to crunching the numbers, our state is much better off accepting the Medicaid expansion money, there’s an even more compelling reason to do so. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic. People are sick and dying, and we need to take action, now.

Since March, Wisconsin has seen more than 70,000 COVID-19 cases, leading to more than 1,000 deaths. And with workplaces shutting down or laying off employees as a result of this pandemic, thousands of people are losing medical coverage during the worst public health crisis of our lifetime. Not to mention all of the folks who fall into the coverage gap by not quite meeting income restrictions under our state’s current Medicaid policy – many of which, like grocery and transportation workers, are considered ‘essential,’ and are expected to face the threat regardless of their ability to fight the virus or afford the medical bills should they contract it.

Bottom line, far too many Wisconsinites are without coverage, making our state even more vulnerable to the threat at hand. And, if you ask me, if our system is failing us during such a clear time of need, it’s broken, and something needs to be done to fix it.

With Missouri voting to expand Medicaid, the people of America have made it clearer than ever – they do not support Republican agendas that put politics before the health of their fellow citizens. If this pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that we need to care for one another. And that starts with your legislature fighting for what’s best. I encourage you to call on your Republican representatives to do their jobs and act on legislation that would allow us to join the 38 other states that have expanded their Medicaid programs. Because every single person in Wisconsin deserves access to affordable healthcare. Especially during a global pandemic.

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Erpenbach on GOP Emergency Session

Posted by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) - A former radio personality and legisla
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 01 August 2020
in Wisconsin

coronavirus-mask934 people have lost their lives in Wisconsin and 96% of our state’s population lives in a place with a high level of COVID-19. Blocking real public health plans to keep us safe is reckless.


WEST POINT, WI - People have been struggling to navigate a UI System filled with barriers created by Senator Fitzgerald and his caucus. The pleas for social justice and safe elections have been ringing across the state for months. And yet, the only time we rush back to the floor is to restrict the Governor’s ability to respond to this pandemic.

jon-erpenbachAnd I’m not buying the ‘freedom’ argument or ‘it’s my body and my choice’ argument either. Voting rights have been eroded from people of color, and women have been losing their ability to make their own healthcare decisions for years now.

Almost 600 people have lost their lives in Wisconsin and 96% of our state’s population lives in a place with a high level of COVID-19. Saying no is an easy thing to do. But not having a plan to keep Wisconsinites safe during a pandemic is reckless.

As we’ve seen before, the GOP has NO PLAN for this pandemic, only to say ‘NO’ to the one thing we know will keep Wisconsinites safe.

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New Legislation Would Fix Unemployment Benefits Problems

Posted by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) - A former radio personality and legisla
User is currently offline
on Friday, 17 July 2020
in Wisconsin

unemployment-wi-wkowBills would roll back barriers to Unemployment Insurance (UI) imposed during decade of misguided anti-worker legislation.


WEST POINT – Republicans spent years putting in place hurdles that hardworking Wisconsinites have to navigate in order to receive Unemployment Benefits that they have earned. What is worse, during a global pandemic, Republicans have spent more time on political name-calling than acting to address the challenges that the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is facing today, too many of which stem from the obstacles that the GOP have created. Wisconsinites deserve more than empty promises and political games.

With the unprecedented circumstances that our state is facing, the legislature should be working to alleviate some of the pressures on DWD and help them process claims faster. DWD has already increased staffing, added call centers, and streamlined systems, but there is more that we can do. That is why Wisconsin Legislative Democrats announced a package of legislation to remove Republican-implemented restrictions and barriers that will allow DWD to ensure Wisconsinites can access their earned benefits faster.

jon-erpenbachI am happy to be the lead on two bills in the package:

LRB 6254 - The current definition of “suitable work” creates challenges for claimants. This bill reinstates DWD’s authority to determine by administrative rule what constitutes suitable work a claimant must accept if offered, and what labor market conditions to review based on the number of weeks that the claimant has received benefits.

LRB 6256 - Several laws enacted over the last decade have restricted DWD’s ability to increase access to unemployment insurance when appropriate. This bill expands DWD’s authority to promulgate rules that provide waivers for work search and job registration requirements.

I will also be a sponsor of legislation to remove the punitive ban on Unemployment benefits for Wisconsin workers who receive social security disability (SSDI).

These bills are a part of a package that will help Wisconsinites access the resources they need. In the 100+ days since the declared public health emergency started, GOP legislators have only met one time to pass a band aid fix to the problems that our state is facing, while making statements acknowledging that more needs to be done. Now is the time for Republicans to live up to that promise and pass meaningful reform to our unemployment system. I also hope that the Governor will call us into a special session to pass these bills as soon as possible.

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Erpenbach on Nationwide Protests: Black Lives Matter

Posted by Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
Jon Erpenbach. State Senator 27th District
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Madison) - A former radio personality and legisla
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 03 June 2020
in Wisconsin

george-floyd-protest-milwWe must listen to Black Americans, their experiences, acknowledge the hurdles they face, and make bold changes to address these systematic inequities and injustices, says State Senator.


West Point, WI - While many are feeling the pressure of a global pandemic, for many Americans there is another virus that has been running through the veins of our society for centuries - racism. The protests that are taking place throughout our country, and all over the world, reinforce that our society and our leaders need to do much, much better at delivering justice and equity in our communities. No more Black lives should be lost due to hatred and bigotry.

As many of you were, I was sad to witness a woman overtly use her whiteness as a weapon against a Black man, and then I was devastated to learn about the murder of George Floyd. Unfortunately, these were only the most recent tragedies – the lives of Tony Robinson, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, and many more have also been senselessly taken.  Black people are dying in Wisconsin, and all over our country while doing the most mundane things that as white people we often take for granted.

jon-erpenbachI will not pretend that I do or will be able to understand the experiences of Black Americans. However, as an elected official, I hope to be a part of the solution to put in place structural changes that will prevent injustices from happening again and again. We cannot stand for leaders in Wisconsin or on the federal level calling for violence against those who are asking to be heard.

These individuals are our friends and neighbors, and we must listen to their experiences, acknowledge the hurdles they face and make bold changes to address these systematic inequities and injustices.

It is not our jobs as white people to tell those who are continuously and systematically oppressed how they can or cannot protest. I know the damage and looting that’s been done has not been from those seeking to put a face on the injustices and giving voice to those who are no longer with us.  Don’t lose sight of the issues at hand. Don’t lose sight of the changes that need to be made.

Change starts with us. It is time to do the work.

Black Lives Matter.

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