Pandemic exposes failures of Wisconsin unemployment system — 6/29/20

Today we draw your attention to the latest story from WPR and Wisconsin Watch’s Bram Sable-Smith exposing the numerous flaws in Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance system, leaving thousands of jobless state residents without financial support during the COVID-19 crisis. The report is based on interviews with 16 out-of-work Wisconsinites, including David Ficke, a Beaver Dam welder who lived out of his car for a time while waiting for unemployment insurance to kick in. He’s still waiting.

Poll closures and pandemic lowered Milwaukee voter turnout, study says — 6/24/20

A new Brennan Center for Justice study documents a steep dropoff in voting in Milwaukee on April 7 due to polling site closures and concerns over the coronavirus. Those factors disproportionately affected Black residents, who have been hardest hit by the pandemic — combining to lower that group’s voter turnout by an estimated 15.9 percentage points, with poll closures playing the bigger role, Dee J. Hall reports for Wisconsin Watch.

Higher rates of COVID-19 cases among African Americans and Latinos are bringing renewed attention to health disparities. Lisa Peyton-Caire, left, founder and president of the Foundation for Black Women's Wellness, said new efforts should help reduce black infant mortality in Dane County. With her are Tia Murray, center, and Micaela Berry, both with Harambee Village Doulas of Madison.

Sweeping disparities in how COVID-19 affects Black and Latino Wisconsinites — 6/19/20

Today we highlight a story by the Wisconsin State Journal that examines the sweeping disparities in how COVID-19 affects Wisconsin’s Black and Latino residents.Black Wisconsinites make up less than 7% of Wisconsin’s population but 18% of its COVID-19 cases and 24% of state deaths from the virus, David Wahlberg reports. Latinos also make up less than 7% of the population, and they account for 33% of Wisconsin’s COVID-19 cases and 11% of its deaths.

Wisconsinites with disabilities see hope as state eyes reversal on unemployment claim denials— 6/17/20

Wisconsin has denied federal pandemic aid to workers on federal disability who lost their jobs. But Caleb Frostman, Wisconsin’s secretary of Workforce Development, is now asking the federal government to allow the state to reverse that practice — potentially affecting thousands of workers with disabilities as the economy struggles to rebound during the pandemic — reports Bram Sable-Smith, a WPR fellow embedded in the Wisconsin Watch newsroom.