TODAY’S COVID-19 CASES, AS REPORTED BY THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES ON MAY 6, 2020. THESE NUMBERS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has entered an agreement with governors of six states, to coordinate plans to reopen their economies, once the COVID-19 pandemic eases, and states are better able to manage the outbreak.
Evers and governors in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky claim they’re working on a plan to lift restrictions together.
Here in the Midwest, we are bound by our commitment to our community. I am proud to be working with a bipartisan group of governors from our neighboring states to safely reopen our economy so hardworking people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet. https://t.co/iJKuljDFF7
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) April 16, 2020
According to statements from J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, it will rely on meeting the following goals:
Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations
Enhanced ability to test and trace
Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence
Best practices for social distancing in the workplace
In a joint statement, the governors said that coordinated approach doesn’t necessarily mean all seven states will reopen simultaneously.
There have been 585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. That’s according to the Wednesday afternoon update from the Department of Health Services.
There have also been two more deaths, a 60 year old man in Milwaukee, and the first death in Dane County, a person in their seventies.
That brings the total number of people who’ve died to seven. It’s a number that will continue to grow, and public health officials say by how much, and how fast, depends on how closely the rest pf us follow Governor Tony Evers “Safer at Home” order.
“If we continue on our current path, without implementing Safer at Home to flatten the curve, the models show us that we would likely have 22,000 Wisconsinites who are positive for COVID-19 by April 8, and an estimated 440 to 1,500 deaths,” DHS Secretary Andrea Palm said Tuesday.
The Milwaukee death was confirmed by the medical examiner’s office after DHS posted its daily update, which lists 6 total deaths.
The Wisconsin state Senate will not be on the floor next week. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Tuesday he is postponing the March 24 floor period “out of an abundance of caution” for senators and their families during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Fitzgerald said he and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos plan to call an extraordinary session of the Legislature sometime in spring.
Next week was to be the final general business day for the current legislative session. Fitzgerald said coronavirus is a public health issue that should be taken seriously.
Two Senate committees are scheduled to vote Tuesday, on a bill on a bill that would raise the legal smoking age to 21, and a joint resolution that calls for a constitutional convention of the states to approve a balanced federal budget and place term limits on members of Congress.
Thus far, the only restrictions at the Capitol building have been cancellation of public tours.
A newly released report from the Wisconsin Department of Justice shows law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin are failing to consistently report cases involving human trafficking. The DOJ said agencies are likely under-counting the number of people who are forced into the sex trade.
“This report will help improve understanding about how human trafficking is being addressed by law enforcement in Wisconsin,” said Attorney General Kaul. “As the report shows, there has been an increased recognition of the prevalence of human trafficking. We must continue working to raise awareness about this terrible crime and investing in efforts to fight it.”
Kaul said police and sheriff’s departments need to improve data collection, raise awareness about trafficking, and expand support for victims. He also believes some police and sheriff’s departments have a tough time understanding the difference between prostitution and human trafficking.
The full report can be seen here.
A contentious debate saw the state Assembly approve rules to accommodate a disabled lawmaker. Representative Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg), argued his case on the Assembly floor.
“Remember, I was just asking to use the damn speaker phones. Something the Senate is already doing, something we’re already doing during joint committees,” he said.
Anderson explained to his colleagues that he’s been in a wheelchair ever since a drunk driver slammed into his family’s car. The crash killed Anderson’s parents and younger brother and left him in a wheelchair as a result of a severed spinal cord.
In the end, Republican leadership removed language dealing with veto overrides from the a package, leaving the disability accommodations in place. “The changes to the committee process allowing him to phone in, allowing anybody to phone in that is certified with a disability, and the things on the floor that help us ensure that we don’t have lengthy delays and overnight sessions,” explained Majority Leader Jim Steinke (R-Kaukana).
The vote Thursday ended a months-long dispute, in which Anderson had retained a disability rights group to represent him in a potential lawsuit.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has signed an executive order declaring the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Wisconsin. The executive order was signed at Indian Community School in Franklin.
“Through this executive order, we recognize and appreciate our tribal nations and Indigenous people and their resilience, wisdom, and the contributions they make to our state,” Evers said “Native Americans in Wisconsin and throughout our country have suffered unjust treatment—often at the hands of our government—and today is about recognizing that Wisconsin would not be all that it is without Indigenous people.”
“Today, we seek to recognize and honor our state’s Indigenous communities while moving beyond a dated practice that perpetuates inaccurate teachings and honors genocide,” said Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes said. “The story of Wisconsin’s Indigenous people has long been one of resistance and resilience. In the coming years, our administration will work to ensure that story evolves into one that includes respect and justice.”
Governor Tony Evers has named his choice to lead the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. A statement from Evers’ office said Thursday that he’s appointing Missy Hughes as as Secretary and CEO of the state’s development agency.
I’ve said all along that a 72-county approach to economic development is critical to creating middle-class jobs and growing the economy. I’m thrilled to welcome Missy Hughes to our team to lead @InWisconsin.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) September 5, 2019
Hughes has a background in agriculture. She’s been Chief Mission Officer and General Counsel for Organic Valley/CROPP cooperative since 2003.
Mark Hogan had led WEDC since 2015 and stepped down effective this week. Hughes won’t start until October 1. A provision passed as part of the lame-duck legislative session following Evers’ election prohibits him from immediately appointing this position.
Wisconsin’s longest serving member of Congress has announced he won’t seek reelection. Menominee Falls Republican Jim Sensenbrenner made the announcement on Wednesday. The 76-year-old was elected to the House in a 1979 special election.
Sensenbrenner currently sits on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District is heavily Republican, so the winner of the GOP primary will likely claim the seat.
Sensenbrenner’s announcement comes a week after another Wisconsin House Republican, Sean Duffy, said he’ll resign later this month.
The American Lung Association is all-in, on a bill to raise the age to buy tobacco and vape products in Wisconsin. The bipartisan legislation would raise the age to 21, and the Lung Association’s Donna Wininsky said that would put it on an equal footing with alcohol. “These are both things that can alder brain chemicals and are addictive. And we would prefer to not have teenagers using them.”
Research shows that people are far less likely to start smoking once they’re 21. “It’s close to a 90 percent rate, that if someone hasn’t started using tobacco products by the time they turn 21, the chances are just very, very slim that they’re going to pick it up afterword.”
Wininsky is skeptical of claims by the vaping industry that its products are not meant for teenagers to use. “I don’t think an industry names and flavors products like ‘bubble gum’ and ‘cotton candy’ and ‘chocolate’ and all of the other flavors that both the tobacco and the vaping industries use, unless they are intentionally targeting kids.”
The legislation is being offered against the backdrop of growing public health concerns surrounding vaping, and vaping products concerning THC.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said last week that 24 of the 27 people with confirmed lung injuries reported vaping oil with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
— Lung Association WI (@LungWisconsin) August 29, 2019
While many users get sick, dealers of THC vape cartridges get rich. Police in Milwaukee in recent months made arrests of suspected dealers selling drugs that included THC cartridges. One trio of dealers was making $800,000 to $2 million a month selling THC cartridges, according to a criminal complaint cited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.-