Morning Update: Thursday, Sept. 23

Morning Update: Thursday, Sept. 23

What's up in City Council?

Good morning, Madison!

Happy Thursday, friends. We're almost through another week. But first, we've got lots of news to get into.

— Hayley

🏢 The latest from City Council.

  • COVID-19 relief: On Tuesday, the council voted to accept another $6.1 million for additional emergency rental assistance to help Madisonians struggling to make rent. According to the Cap Times, once this next round of funding comes in, the city will have received $39.1 million from the U.S. Treasury Department for rental assistance.
  • Non-union worker raises: Also on Tuesday, the council adopted a resolution that will increase the wages of all non-union city workers by at least 6% over three years. From the State Journal: "nonunion workers are scheduled to receive 1% raises on Jan. 1, 2022, Jan. 1, 2023, and July 1, 2023, and a 3% raise on Jan. 1, 2024. Each 1% wage increase costs about $1.4 million."
  • Redistricting concerns: Following the release of the 2020 census, city staff were put to work drawing new aldermanic district maps to ensure each district has roughly the same population size. There's worry, however, that the new district map will split up the student population, raising concerns over representation. City Planner Ben Zeller told WORT that the proposed changes to the heavily-student-populated district 8 is the result of an overall population increase on the isthmus. The redistricting process should be complete by November, then it heads to the County Board. You can make your voice heard on this issue by submitting all comments to
  • Cat declawing: Ald. Lindsay Lemmer of the 3rd District has proposed a ban on cat declawing (except when the procedure is medically necessary or considered to be best for the cat). If approved, anyone who violates the rule could face a $2,000 fine. It's widely accepted today that declawing cats is an unnecessary procedure that can lead to many unintended consequences for the cat. According to the State Journal, several countries have outlawed the practice, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand.

Did I include the story about cat declawing just to use this photo of Billie Jo in the newsletter? Maybe. Am I sorry? No.

🇦🇫 Federal officials are gearing up to get Afghan refugees out of army bases and into the world.

⚖️ The Wisconsin Supreme Court will take on GOP-backed redistricting lawsuit.

  • In a 4-3 ruling, the state Supreme Court sided with conservative law firm WILL in taking on the case of Wisconsin's redistricting maps. There's also a Democratic-backed lawsuit in progress in federal court.
    • Some context from AP: "The lawsuits ask that courts establish a plan to draw new lines in the likely event that the GOP-controlled Legislature and Evers, a Democrat, don’t agree on new maps. Republicans think their chances are best in state courts. [...] Democrats are putting their hopes in federal court, arguing that makes more sense because that’s where past redistricting disputes under divided governments in 1982, 1992 and 2002 were resolved."
  • The Legislature has yet to produce any redistricting map, let alone submit one for approval.

💰 The mayor of Fitchburg wants to be the next State Treasurer.

  • Mayor Aaron Richardson announced his candidacy Wednesday. Richardson is running as a Democrat to succeed current treasurer Sarah Godlewski, a fellow Democrat who is leaving the post to pursue a U.S. Senate seat.

🦠 An update on COVID-19 in Wisconsin.

🙏 Your lunchtime read: Madison and America have outgrown the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

🥕 PSA: The Dane County Farmers' Market will be held at Breese Stevens Field this weekend.

🦠 Covid-19 Resources

Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 53.1%

Dane County Vaccination Rate: 70.6%

Here's where to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

Need a COVID-19 test? PHMDC has you covered.

Are you eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna? Find out here.