Iron County Progressive




Rep. Meyers COVID-19 Update

Hello to all my constituents in the 74th Assembly District. This is an extraordinary time as we face the COVID-19 outbreak head-on. As scary and uncertain as things are, these past couple weeks have shown me the best in people. Health care workers, public servants, employees at pharmacies and grocery stores, and so many have been working tirelessly to keep us going, and I'm so grateful.

At the same time, I hear from people around the district with questions. The most common question I hear is, "What can I do to help?" This shows the heart and compassion that surrounds us in the Northland. We live in a truly special community.

I want to answer that and other questions with this brief overview in a special edition of my newsletter. As always, feel free to reach out to my office by email at rep.meyers@legis.wisconsin.gov or call at (608) 266-7690 with any further questions.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay calm and stay informed.

Important note: This information is relevant as of Friday, March 20th at 10 am. Things are moving quickly and bound to change. 


COVID-19 Overview


COVID-19 is spreading quickly through Wisconsin. Last Thursday, we had five confirmed cases. As of today, Friday March 20th, there are 155 confirmed cases, including one in Bayfield County.

This does not mean we should panic, but it does mean we need to work together to slow the spread. We must wash our hands often, stay home from work if sick, work from home if possible, and most importantly, practice social distancing.


This isn't going to be easy, but the best thing we can do is slow the spread of the virus in order to not overwhelm our health care system (see flattening the curve). Before you go see a doctor, be sure to call first. As of this week, Governor Tony Evers has ordered bars and restaurants to close dining rooms and banned gatherings of more than 10 people (see order here).

In the meantime, if you want to find out more information, be careful and use trusted sources. The absolute best information on COVID-19 can be found at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. There is also great information to be found for all of the state of Wisconsin agencies at the governors website, govstatus.egov.com.


How to Help and Stay Sane

As many people are struggling in this epidemic, many others are asking how they can help. Here are some things you can do:
  • As I mentioned, social distancing is the best thing you can do for yourself and your community. 
  • You can donate to your local food bank as many are overwhelmed at this time. 
  • Don't hoard if you don't have to, especially essential items. 
  • Check out possible volunteer opportunities with United Way
  • Check in with your elderly or immuno-compromised friends, family and neighbors. Let them know you're thinking of them. 
  • Find ways to support your local business. One way is to get carry out from your favorite restaurant (see a list of open restaurants here). 
  • If you or someone you know is in distress, call or provide the number 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
Of course, take care of yourself. Take a walk outside, read a book, watch a movie, meditate, step away from news when it's overwhelming and check out other information on managing stress and anxiety during this outbreak


Spring Election Updates and Deadlines



Wisconsin's Spring Election and Presidential Primary is still scheduled to be held on Tuesday, April 7. Currently, the state is recommending that Wisconsinites request absentee ballots to vote by mail ahead of time. 

In order to request a ballot by mail, please visit myvote.wi.gov


Unemployment Resources

If your workplace shuts down due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply for unemployment benefits through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Governor Evers has also issued an executive order to waive work search requirements and modified the available requirements for unemployment insurance benefits.

If you have any questions or would like to apply, please visit the DWD website here. They have an incredibly comprehensive FAQ. Try your best to find the answers on your own before calling as they are handling far more requests than usual. 


Avoid Scammers



Please be cautious online during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Scammers are trying to take advantage of the confusion and fear surrounding the pandemic and may try to take advantage of you, your family members and your neighbors during this emergency.
  • Beware of phishing email, phone calls and texts that request personal information from you. 
  • Be wary of claims of cures or special treatments. Always verify this information with the Department of Health Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • Also be aware of possible price gouging. Price gouging is generally illegal during a pandemic, and wholesalers or retailers are prohibited from selling consumer goods or services at prices that are more than 15% higher than pre-emergency prices.
  • Please report all possible scams to the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection at DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov or (800) 422-7128 or online here


Utilities Cut Off, Evictions and Foreclosures

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) directed water, electric, and natural gas utilities to cease disconnecting residential service for nonpayment until the state public health emergency has been lifted. Additionally, utilities must make reasonable attempts to reconnect service to homes that have been disconnected. You can learn more here.

The Trump Administration has ordered foreclosures and evictions to be held off until the end of April. See more information here.


Small Business Administration Disaster Loans 



Small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 may qualify for Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) will be providing disaster assistance loans to businesses who suffer substantial economic injury due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

In order for a state to qualify for loans, its Governor must submit an application directly to SBA documenting statewide examples of businesses negatively impacted by the outbreak. Governor Evers’ administration is currently trying to gather as many documented cases of businesses impacted as possible as part of its application to SBA.

Local economic development officials and businesses should work directly with their regional WEDC economic development director to document losses for the state’s application for SBA assistance. For small businesses in Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, Price, Douglas and Sawyer Counties, please reach out to Lance Ausing at lance.ausing@wedc.org or call 608.210.6824.


Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation, including the Division of Motor Vehicles across the state, have taken some steps to combat COVID-19, including the following:
  • DMVs will be closed March 20th for deep cleaning.​ They will reopen Monday, March 23 with limited in-person services, which will include issuing new drivers license and IDs by appointment only. 
  • In the meantime, please take advantage of their extensive online services
  • Driver licenses and CDLs that expire during this public health emergency will be automatically extended 60 days. Late fees will be waived. The driver record, visible to law enforcement, will show the extension and that the driver license is valid.
  • All driver skills tests are being cancelled as of March 18 until further notice.
  • Customers are being notified that Administrative Suspension hearings will be offered by telephone (or paper), not in-person.


Department of Natural Resources



In light of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources is closely following guidelines from the CDC and DHS. However, all state parks, forests and trails will remain open for public use with voluntary entrance fees.

The DNR will take the following steps to ensure safety for all parkgoers:
  • All buildings at these properties will be closed with the exception of some restroom facilities.
  • Entrance fees are voluntary and park and trail passes will only be available at self-registration or e-pay stations.
  • All planned events/activities will be canceled for the duration of the public health emergency.
  • All campground and all shelter reservations are canceled through April 30, 2020. People with current reservations will be contacted to reschedule or refund their reservations.
  • Counter service at all DNR Service Centers have been temporarily suspended. 
Check out the Department of Natural Resources website for further updates. In the meantime, feel free to visit our state parks! Enjoy the fresh air and the natural beauty, just make sure to practice social distancing!


Again, please reach out to my office with any questions or concerns. Email me at rep.meyers@legis.wisconsin.gov or call at (608) 266-7690.

We are all in this together, and I have great confidence that the people of Wisconsin will rise and meet this challenge.

Be well, and thank you, 





Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair

Follow this newsletter to keep current on the events shaping our state and the work our party is doing to win in 2020 and beyond. 


Dear fellow Wisconsin Democrats,

We have
32 days until the first big fight of the year: April 7, 2020's Supreme Court race. The moment we lift up Judge Jill Karofsky to the highest court in the state—and remove Trump's ally Dan Kelly from a position he never should have held.

The winner on April 7 will serve until 2030. The first six months of that term could be the most significant: in that period, the election's winner will shape shape the Court's interpretation of election laws that affect who wins Wisconsin—and thus, the White House—in November.

No wonder Trump endorsed Dan Kelly. No wonder GOP groups are already running a scorched-earth campaign against Jill Karofsky.

No wonder we're fighting with an energy and focus that we've never before brought to a spring election. 

In every corner of Wisconsin, for the next 32 days, Democrats will be going to bat to make sure the public understands the truth about Dan Kelly. That he was appointed by Walker as a thank-you gift for defending Walker in the John Doe corruption investigations and going to bat for gerrymandered maps. That he consistently sides with Big Oil and right-wing groups whose board members contribute to his campaigns. That he sides with Betsy DeVos, instead of public schools.

And we'll cut through the GOP's lies to share the truth about Judge Jill Karofsky: that she's exactly the kind of Justice our state needs. Someone who believes in civil rights, in women's health, and in equal justice for all—not just big corporate interests.

The Supreme Court race will be a dress rehearsal for the fall election. It would be urgent even if it weren't—but it is. So let's do this. Clear your weekends on
March 21-22, March 28-29, and April 4 through April 7: it's time to knock doors. RSVP to some shifts at wisdems.org/victory. Let's fight for justice—by electing a Justice worthy of the name.

Ben


FIGHT on the Issues & FIGHT to Win:

Who Does Trump Want to Pay for His Wall? Wisconsinites.

On Wednesday, Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul announced that Wisconsin would be joining a lawsuit challenging Trump’s unlawful and unconstitutional diversion of $3.8 billion taxpayer dollars to pay for his unauthorized border wall—including $101 million that was supposed to come to Wisconsin's Oshkosh Corp.


Oshkosh Corp's 3,100 employees—and the local businesses that rely on their spending—are now among the many thousands of Wisconsinites who might pay the price for Trump's disastrous policies. The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power of the purse. In order to break his promises, Trump has to violate his Constitutional oath. This year, we'll fight for the rule of law, for Wisconsin manufacturers—and for an end to vanity projects like Trump's wall that have come to symbolize our president's misbegotten "America alone" policies.

Dan Kelly: Fundraising with Guns After a Massacre

Just a day after the tragic Molson Coors mass shooting last week, the GOP’s favorite candidate for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Dan Kelly, held a fundraiser at a gun range. While Wisconsinites were still mourning another wrenching incident of gun violence, Dan Kelly was busy selling sponsorship levels named after calibers of ammunition—honoring $5000 donors as reaching the "50 Cal M2HB" level, named for the bullets fired from a Browning .50-caliber machine gun.


After Kelly was called out for his insensitivity, he doubled down—by sending a fundraising email feigning outrage about the outrage that he'd caused. Sadly, it's not a surprise. This is the same man who wrote the partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court opinion that overrode a local law preventing guns on Madison city buses.

As DPW Communications Director Courtney Beyer put it to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, "
We wish Dan Kelly cared about gun violence as much as he does fundraising."

U.S. Supreme Court: ACA and Women's Health on the Chopping Block

This week marked two big developments on the Supreme Court of the United States: The Court heard oral arguments on a case that could sharply curtail women's reproductive freedom. And the Court announced that it would take up the legal challenge to the entire Affordable Care Act that far-right judges and litigators have, with support from Trump, been pressing in the courts. 


The abortion decision could come this June. The ACA decision might not come until a year from now. But both cases could change life in America, and both cases underscore the extent to which health care—for women and men alike—rae on the ballot this fall. If the far right fails in these cases, it will be because Chief Justice John Roberts decides not to go to partisan extremes. If Trump is reelected and can choose one or even two more Supreme Court justices, the hope for that sort of outcome will become a distant memory.

That's one more reason why our work in Wisconsin this year will be so crucial. 


INCLUDE & RESPECT:

The Race-Class Narrative Comes to Wisconsin

Last weekend, county party leaders and activists from across Wisconsin gathered for the annual County Chairs Association retreat, organized in partnership with DPW. There, they heard fresh research about Wisconsin from Anat Shenker-Osorio, a message and polling expert who previously worked with George Lakoff. The question she sought to answer: how to fight back against Trump's message of racial and anti-immigrant division and resentment with a message that would resonate among all potential Democratic voters, across race and geography?

The answer: start with a shared value that unites us across race, then explain how Trump and the GOP's wealthy backers try to divide us by race in order to pick the pockets of white, Black, and brown people alike—and return to the power of our unity to achieve the change we need. It's called the race-class narrative, and it will be a key tool to power our victories in 2020. We'll have more research to share in the coming months, but in the meantime, listen to Anat (and DPW chair Ben Wikler!) talk about the race-class narrative on former Obama speechwriter-turned-podcaster Jon Favreau's podcast The Wilderness (Episode 5: The Midwest) or on Anat's own podcast, Brave New Words. The strategy was tested in 2018 in Minnesota's Greater Than Fear campaign—and it worked better than anyone had dared hope.