COVID-19 UPDATES FOR COUNTY OFFICIALS

As issues continue to develop and change at a quick rate with COVID-19, the Coronavirus, we at the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) are working alongside Governor Tony Evers, the Administration, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and our general counsel, von Briesen & Roper, s.c., (von Briesen) to provide the latest resources and updates to assist county officials during this unprecedented time.

COVID-19 Daily Update: 4.3.2020

April 3, 2020

COVID-19 DAILY HEALTH UPDATE
(Information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) current as of 1:00 p.m. Central, Friday, April 3, 2020)

  • Total people with negative results: 22,377 (+2,060)
  • Total people with positive results: 1,916 (+186)
  • Hospitalizations: 487 (+26) or 25%
  • Total deaths: 37 (+6)

GOVERNOR EVERS CALLS FOR SPECIAL SESSION ON SPRING ELECTION
Governor Tony Evers today signed Executive Order #73 calling the Legislature to meet in Special Session on Sat., April 4, 2020 at 4 p.m. to take up changes to the upcoming spring election. Gov. Evers is urging the Legislature to take up legislation allowing an all-mail election, to send a ballot to every registered voter who has not already requested one by May 19, and to extend the time for those ballots to be received to May 26.

WCA does not expect the Legislature to approve the Governor’s proposal and will keep members updated with any developments related to the special session. 

LEGAL UPDATE: Q & A FOR COUNTY EMPLOYEE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS UNDER THE CARES ACT
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) to provide nearly $2 trillion of support to families and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to economic aid, the CARES Act expands unemployment insurance benefits (“UI benefits”) through the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act. For purposes of this Q & A, the most relevant of the benefits provided by the Act is the availability of an additional $600 per week in UI benefits to a qualified individual in addition to the amount paid under existing State law. Importantly, the UI benefits are available to public sector employees in addition to private sector employees.  

The Association and its general counsel von Briesen & Roper, s.c., have received many questions regarding county employee eligibility for the UI benefits under the CARES Act. Many of the questions relate to the interaction of the enhanced benefits with a partial reduction in hours (furlough or layoff). Decisions counties make concerning its workforce are critically important and counties are rightfully reviewing all options.  

The Wisconsin Counties Association asked our General Counsel von Briesen & Roper, s.c. to prepare a Q & A to provide information related to county employee eligibility for the UI benefits and related issues facing counties as employers. This information should be reviewed carefully with corporation counsel to ensure county compliance with other applicable employment laws and regulations.

LEGAL UPDATE: LEGISLATIVE, IRS AND DOL RESPONSES TO COVID-19 AFFECTING RETIREMENT PLANS, GROUP HEALTH PLANS, FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS AND HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
The past several weeks have given rise to an unprecedented flurry of new legislation and government agency actions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This Legal Update summarizes key provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA,” enacted on March 18, 2020), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act,” enacted on March 27, 2020), as well as certain actions taken by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor that directly impact employer-sponsored retirement plans, group health plans, flexible spending accounts, and health savings accounts.

DHS MODELING PAGE
Data and modeling have been critical tools to stop the spread during the COVID-19 pandemic. DHS has used this vital information to create policies like Safer at Home. The department is sharing their data and modeling to better inform the public of the information we used to make these decisions and explain why guidance like physical distancing is so important to protect the health and safety of Wisconsinites.