Monday May 25, 2020

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Justice Roggensack’s comments show she is unfit to serve

Posted by Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30 has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 07 May 2020
in Wisconsin

patience-roggensack_050720Her comments also show a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of just how transmittable the coronavirus is, says Green Bay Senator.


GREEN BAY, WI - As Brown County continues to increase at the fastest rate in the state, Justice Roggensack’s comments that workers at meat packing plants “are not regular folks” are as dangerous as they are insulting, demonstrating a sense of elitism and ignorance one might expect from our current president but not from a justice on our Supreme Court.

dave-hansen-gbHer comments also show a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of just how transmittable the coronavirus is which makes her judgment dangerous to those who will soon be forced back to work when she and the other activist Republican justices are expected to rule against Governor Evers’ Safer at Home order.

Justice Roggensack’s comments show her to be unfit to serve on the state’s highest court. At the very least she should recuse herself from any and all decisions related to challenges to Governor Evers’ order.

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Connecting During Crisis

Posted by Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, State Senator District 31
Jeff Smith, Senator District 31 (D - Eau Claire)
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on Wednesday, 06 May 2020
in Wisconsin

broadband-map-northwoodsKeeping connected during this public health crisis has again highlighted the lack of reliable internet in rural Wisconsin and the urgent need to expand broadband and better connect our communities.


EAU CLAIRE, WI - Think about it – thanks to technology it’s possible to do so much from the nearest Wi-Fi location during this global pandemic. Some people can work from home or have a video call with their loved ones, and children can get their lessons from their teacher. Folks feeling ill, or dealing with a health condition, can use telehealth to meet with a medical professionals. Many retail establishments are online, offering whatever we need, including groceries, clothing, and hardware. In this day and age, we can do all of this because we have the internet; but all this is only possible if you can access it.

It’s true. Rural Wisconsin doesn’t have the same access to high-speed internet as our urban communities. Many are unaware of the challenges we face in rural Wisconsin while we attempt to connect from our homes to businesses and our loved ones during this difficult time.

internet-ruralDuring the 20th century, electricity started as a luxury for some, but it became essential for people to work and take care of their families. Much like electricity in the last century, internet in the early 1990s was a luxury, but now, during this pandemic, internet access is crucial. While we practice social distancing and stay in our homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19 it’s even more important that we’re connected digitally.

Last week, I participated in a webinar with other legislators around the Midwest and a meeting with the Public Service Commission to discuss the lack of reliable internet. Since schools are closed, many rural school teachers have had to become more creative to deliver their lessons. Oftentimes, teachers and their students don’t have the bandwidth needed to connect to the virtual classroom, so they’ll park outside a library or school for the day to learn. Additionally, rural communities can’t rely on their internet to shop and buy household basics online, which is especially difficult during our current public health emergency.

Many people are becoming experts at using the latest meeting apps on their computers and seeing their co-workers and friends while conducting regular business. It’s still not better than meeting in-person, but it works. However, there are still too many people who cannot rely on it. For instance, when the State Senate convened last month to vote on the COVID Response Bill, I needed to drive to the UW-Eau Claire campus to use their internet. Even our most technologically savvy professionals from the state couldn’t come up with a good solution for me to connect and participate from my home because my satellite internet provides too slow of speeds with too many interruptions.

For others, it can be about life and death. In my district, I’ve heard stories about people who couldn’t get through when trying to call 911 or the EMTs couldn’t find a location in time to save someone. There are some things that cannot be fixed like isolated locations that are a long distance from a hospital, but then there are communication and electronic access issues that can save lives.

jeff-smithBroadband expansion is slow, too slow considering the pace our world operates nowadays. Hard work, creativity and funding are needed to accomplish our biggest modern-day infrastructural challenge. Simple solutions like my dig-once bill could save millions of dollars and plan our internet infrastructure more efficiently. Or my other bill to add $100 million to broadband expansion grants and improve our mapping capabilities can provide the roadmap we need to connect Wisconsin quicker.

Above all, just like the challenges of electrification, we need to think about how Wisconsin can connect the homes that will never be considered “profitable,” or the places too hard to go. Those must be our target so everyone in between gets hooked up and the internet becomes as trustworthy and necessary as the electricity that flows through our homes.

This pandemic has demonstrated how important and valuable that access is in today’s world. Nobody should be at risk just because they can’t visit their doctor or shop for groceries. We are social creatures. Family connections and friendships can be so important to our well-being. Let’s work for better connectedness during this crisis.

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WI opening many state parks

Posted by Sarah Godlewski, State Treasurer
Sarah Godlewski, State Treasurer
Sarah Godlewski, State Treasurer has not set their biography yet
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on Saturday, 02 May 2020
in Wisconsin

sarah-godlewski-inparkGet out of the house and stay healthy says State Treasurer.


MADISON - It’s no secret that Wisconsin has unbeatable natural resources and stunning state parks, and now, I’m happy to announce that as of today (May 1) many of these wonderful state parks will be once again open to all Wisconsinites while still maintaining the social distancing guidelines to keep us all healthy.

As the Chair of the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I know how important it is for Wisconsinites to be able to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of our state. Not only that, but it’s also critical to maintaining both mental and physical health.

Best of all, these parks are being opened in a safe, responsible manner that will continue to keep us healthy as we combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are uncertain times, but if we do our job as responsible citizens and continue to respect social distancing guidelines while at these wonderful parks -- then we can all once again enjoy the natural beauty of our state.

To read more about these guidelines, and to learn which parks are open check out this Press Release from Governor Evers’ office.

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe.

Talk soon,

Sarah

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Trump Lets Down Small Businesses With Botched Rollout

Posted by Khary Penebaker, DNC Member WI
Khary Penebaker, DNC Member WI
Khary Penebaker, DNC Member WI has not set their biography yet
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on Saturday, 02 May 2020
in Wisconsin

coronavirus-small-businessSmall businesses struggle with the process to get loans or weren’t able to get any loans at all.


Waukesha, WI - For the second time in a span of the month, the Trump administration botched the rollout of its small business loan program.

The Trump administration once again botched the PPP rollout, which was riddled with glitches, and crashed almost immediately.

NPR: “Small Business Loans Site Crashes On First Day Of Reopening”

Bloomberg: “Gears Jammed Again During Relaunch of Small-Business Relief Program”

Washington Post: “Trump administration's small business rescue has a rocky rollout. Again.”

Wall Street Journal: “The government on Monday resumed taking applications for its $660 billion aid program for small businesses hit by the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak—and with the resumption came a fresh chorus of complaints over delays and glitches in the process.”

coronavirus-small-busn-loanIn the first round of loans, many small businesses struggled with the process to get loans or weren’t able to get any loans at all.

“The application said that we would have funding within three days, and that didn’t happen… I still haven’t seen a dime.” - Washington small business owner

“My question is, What was wrong with the first application submission?” - Massachusetts small business owner

“We applied the minute the portal went live. We did everything right. How come we weren’t at the top of the queue?” - California small business owner

“I lost it. How is it possible that Shake Shack and many other mega-chains got millions of dollars, and small restaurateurs like me, who collectively provide jobs for millions of people, were left with nothing?” - New York small business owner

“We had all our paperwork ready to go and submitted our applications on the very first day they were accepting them, and we’re still processing.” - Virginia small business owner

Meanwhile, big corporations and well-connected companies got the loans intended for small businesses instead.

CBS News: “Paycheck Protection Program billions went to large companies and missed virus hot spots”

Associated Press: “Publicly traded firms get $365M in small-business loans”

NBC News: “Firms with Trump links or worth $100 million got small business loans”

CBS News: “Phunware, a data firm for Trump campaign, got millions in coronavirus small business help”

GQ: “One Trump Donor’s Hotel Companies Got $96.1 Million Meant for Small Businesses”

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Continuing Outbreak Demonstrates Need for Continuing Safer at Home

Posted by Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30
Dave Hansen, State Senator Dist 30 has not set their biography yet
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on Friday, 01 May 2020
in Wisconsin

covid-19-protest-madisonWithout vastly expanded testing, you really have no way of knowing how many people around you are infected. That's why early reopening plans by Republicans and others who oppose the Safer at Home order are so dangerous, says Green Bay Senator.


GREEN BAY - Here’s the thing about the coronavirus, one day you don’t have it and then you do. One day a county or community is free of it then it isn’t. And when it shows up if you aren’t taking the necessary precautions you go from having a few cases to a lot…in a very short period of time.

Until we have vastly expanded testing and the ability to trace each case, you really have no way of knowing how many people around you might have it because most people who are infected don’t show symptoms. That’s why the coronavirus is so dangerous.

For weeks we heard from Republicans and others who oppose the Safer at Home order that the virus is really only a problem in Dane and Milwaukee counties. And for a while that may have been true. Until it wasn’t. Don’t believe it? Ask the people who live in and around Brown County. Only mere weeks ago Brown County was in the group of counties where it appeared there was nothing to worry about. Then cases started showing up in JBS and other meat packing plants and the number of cases is now at 968.

A significant number of people work in Green Bay but live elsewhere in places like Oconto, De Pere, Pulaski and other communities outside of Green Bay. If there is no social distancing in place the likelihood that they will become infected in Green Bay and take it home to their families and communities in neighboring communities becomes a very real possibility.

dave-hansen-senateGreen Bay and Brown County are not unique. Anywhere that people work or live in close proximity to each other is at risk of spreading the virus if social distancing isn’t followed. All it takes is one employee to test positive and your community is at risk of becoming the next hot spot.

scott_fitzgeraldRepublican leaders Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald say that Minocqua is not Milwaukee. Not that long ago South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said South Dakota isn’t New York City. Now South Dakota has 2,245 cases and 11 deaths. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said, “we aren’t California. We are not New York.” Alabama now has 6,499 cases and 222 deaths and nearly the same ratio of cases as New York has. So just because Minocqua “isn’t Milwaukee” now doesn’t mean it won’t become a hot spot if we don’t act responsibly.

In a rare act, both parties came together in Congress and passed the CARES Act. Included in that legislation are programs designed to help people stay away from each other and to help small businesses and workers make it through the pandemic. Is it perfect? Not by a longshot. More will need to be done.

But in order for us to avoid harm and have any chance of safely getting as much of our economy as possible up and running before we have a cure or vaccine, we all need to do our part and follow the Safer at Home order. And those who are trying to use the pandemic to score political points by urging that the economy be re-opened before it is safe to do so need to stop and think about the innocent lives that will be lost and the economic ruin that will happen if we don’t do this right.

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