WED AM News: Broad backing for broadband; Evers puts $100M toward businesses, groups

— GOP and Dem Joint Finance Committee members agree that a big investment in broadband is needed in rural areas. 

But that was the extent of agreement.

During a Milwaukee business panel, Joint Committee on Finance members Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, and Jessie Rodriguez, R-Oak Creek, debated which provisions in the Gov. Tony Evers’  biennial budget would have the most impact on the state. These provisions range from health care to infrastructure to education. 

“[Broadband] is an area that we’ve heard many stakeholders, whether it be the schools, the public libraries, economic development organizations around the state, ask for us to look at,” Rodriguez told the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce briefing. “It is an area that we’re certainly going to look at.”

While both representatives agreed on the importance of broadband for rural communities and businesses, Goyke and Rodriguez drew lines on funding for schools and school choice, marijuana legalization and Medicaid.

Read the full story at

— Evers is splitting $100 million of the state’s share of federal stimulus money into two grant programs supporting businesses and other groups.

The first $50 million will go toward “Wisconsin Tomorrow–Main Street Bounceback” grants. These dollars are designed to encourage businesses to move into vacant storefronts in downtowns and other commercial corridors statewide. Each new or existing business will get a $10,000 grant to move into a vacant property.

“Many of our state’s downtowns have been hit hard as retailers, restaurants, and other Main Street businesses closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and these grants are intended to get those storefronts filled and get our downtowns humming again,” Evers said.

The second initiative is a $50 million “Equitable Recovery” program. This will provide grants to community partners who are doing work to eliminate disparities and promote equity in economic, educational, health, housing and environmental efforts.

The program will be coordinated by the Department of Administration. The state is waiting for federal guidance before providing complete program details or opening applications.

Evers has provided an overview of how he’d spend $2.5 billion to help businesses and families from the roughly $3.2 billion coming to the state. The rest of the money is reserved to help cover the state’s ongoing costs related to the pandemic.

— Wisconsin has put Johnson & Johnson vaccinations on hold.

The Department of Health Services is instructing vaccinators to stop administering the shots. That comes after the CDC and FDA reported six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot. The disease is called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. 

The six cases have been reported in the U.S. out of 6.8 million Johnson & Johnson doses given. None of those cases were in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin has administered about 156,000 Johnson & Johnson doses. 

“We are pausing administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” said DHS Secretary Karen Timberlake. “At this time, these adverse events appear to be extremely rare.”

Because the clots are so rare, Sen. Eric Wimberger, R-Green Bay, tweeted that pausing the Johnson & Johnson vaccinations is “the wrong call.”

“At the same time @GovEvers is tweeting about the importance of getting your vaccine, @US_FDA and his @DHSWI are causing panic over something that has affected 6 people out of 7 million doses administered,” Wimberger wrote. “This will only make people more hesitant.”

But these are very serious cases, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk told in a health briefing.

“It’s a very small number, but maybe that’s not all the cases. Maybe there are more cases that have not been reported, and by putting this pause in place for a few days … we may identify that there are more,” she said. “This is a pretty unique blood-clotting disorder.”

Read more in the latest Health Care Report:

<i>For more of the most relevant news on the coronavirus outbreak, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin and links to top stories, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and

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— Oshkosh Corp. is the newest gold member of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

The corp.’s Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer Tina Schoner said building a diverse and inclusive economy is more than a corporate goal; it’s a business imperative. 

“At Oshkosh Corporation, we believe in the power of a People First culture — a culture where every team member feels valued, respected and engaged,” Schoner said. “That starts with fostering diversity, equity and inclusion across the Company, embracing the power of individuality and unique perspectives to build a more connected culture and improve business performance.”

Oshkosh Corp., which employs nearly 15,000 people worldwide, joins more than 40 other corporations as a gold member of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

— The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is awarding $10,000 to the best idea submitted to the Wisconsin Main Street Downtown Pitch Contest.

“Small businesses anchor our downtowns,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “These businesses and their owners and employees draw neighbors downtown and create the energy and vitality of downtown districts throughout the state.”

Entrepreneurs looking for a brick-and-mortar space or business owners looking to expand are examples of those who may want to enter the pitch contest.

It’s open to Wisconsin residents 18 and older with a for-profit business idea located — or planned to be located — in a community that is part of either the Wisconsin Main Street Program or the Connect Communities Program. Both existing and planned businesses are eligible, although businesses must be open and investments made no later than Dec. 31.

Apply before May 28 by contacting the local Main Street program: or Connect Communities program: 

— Madison Night in Milwaukee will be the evening of May 6.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s annual reception invites business and community leaders to thank elected officials. It will also showcase the Milwaukee region and its companies.

The event is in person following city of Milwaukee COVID-19 guidelines. 


— Rep. Tip McGuire, D-Kenosha, is hosting an informational session tomorrow at 11 a.m. with industry leaders to discuss what investing in esports can do for the state.

Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin and MMAC Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs Steve Baas will discuss the state of the esports industry, the economic development potential of esports and the opportunity that Wisconsin has to be a leader in the field.

Former Green Bay Packers running back and current Lakeland University esports coach Ahman Green will be among the speakers discussing the landscape of esports in education and the growing number of scholarship opportunities for students.

The session will be broadcast live for the public on Facebook: 

See the full list of speakers: 

Hear a recent WisBusiness podcast with esport XP League Madison Commissioner JD Uhler: 

— The latest episode of “WisBusiness: The Show” features Eric Oakland and Marita Herkert-Oakland, co-founders of Relumed. 

Eric and Marita explain how consulting service Relumed helps entrepreneurs visualize their businesses and products in ways customers and users find easier to grasp. 

Watch the show: 

— Join and on April 27 from noon to 1 p.m. for a virtual panel discussion on U.S.-China relations under the Biden administration.

Panelists include: U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse; Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay; Bonnie S. Glaser, director of the Asia program for The German Marshall Fund of the United States; and Steve Ackerman, the vice chancellor for research and graduate education at UW-Madison.

This event is part of the UW Center for East Asian Studies’ East Asia Now series ( and is partially supported by a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education. 

Event partners include the Wisconsin Technology Council, Center for East Asian Studies, World Trade Association, Madison International Trade Association and Wisconsin District Export Council. 

Register here for this free event:

Check out the new – Wisconsin Trade Policy page:


# Wisconsin Medical Leader: Rising Cases, Spikes In Surrounding States Are A ‘Warning Sign’

# Assembly Republicans set to pass bills to control federal relief funds, may violate federal requirements 

# Federal officials preserve $50 million a month in food assistance in Wisconsin



– Analyst says weather is not the market mover now 

– ADC: Dairy farmers want involvement in milk price fix 


– Milwaukee Public Museum’s proposed new home could get a $150,000 state grant to help fund its site preparation work


– Some Wisconsin school districts begin planning for early start date this fall


– Public input sought on 10-year Wolf Management Plan


– Rusten Sheskey, Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake, returns to active duty


– Evers Makes Pitch For Juvenile Justice Reform As GOP Lawmakers Prepare To Review Budget


– Kwik Trip named presenting sponsor for NASCAR Cup Series race at Road America


– ‘Over 20 restaurants’ spotlighted during Milwaukee Black Restaurant Week


– A high-upside recruit who signed with Shaka Smart at Texas will play for him at Marquette 


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