State Capitol Report


May 26, 2016

Contact Me

State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

PH: (608) 266-0455
TF: (888) 534-0065
FAX: (608) 282-3665

On the Web:


District Events

2nd Annual Tennis Shoe Gala

When: Saturday, June 4th at 6pm

Where: Boys & Girls Club of Kenosha, 1330 52nd Street
Information: Click HERE for more information


Outta Sight Kite Flight
When: Saturday June 4th and Sunday June 5th, 10am-5pm

**Grand launch is Saturday at 12pm
Where: Kennedy Park, 4051 Fifth Avenue

What: See flying demonstrations of gigantic show kites (100+ feet) and stunt kite demonstrations by professional flyers from the around the Midwest.


Salute to Freedom

When: Saturday, June 11th from 10am-4pm and Sunday, June 12th from 11am-3pm

Where: Kenosha Civil War Museum

What: Celebrate some of the finest Civil War soldiers of the Midwest – the famous Iron Brigade. March, cook, and drill with these soldiers and find out what made them truly “giants in battle.”


Kenosha Juneteenth Celebration

When: Saturday, June 25th from 12pm-6pm

Where: Pennoyer Park Bandshell, 3601 7th Avenue

What: Organized by the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha, this festival offers a variety of food vendors, youth activities with a jumpy house, local choirs and praise dancers and concludes with DJ’s and live entertainment. Music genre will be traditional Old School and R&B, featuring Motown classics.

Cost: Free


ICYMI: U.S. Treasury Rejects Proposed
Pension Cuts


Last November, I joined with fellow members of the Assembly Labor Committee Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) and Rep. Chris Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) to send letters to Wisconsin's federal elected officials, asking them to urge the U.S. Treasury to reject a proposal by the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF) to make drastic deep cuts to the pension of hundreds of thousands of retired and working Teamsters. (You can view the letter we sent to Senator Tammy Baldwin HERE.) Other members of the Democratic caucus joined us in sending letters.


Many of these Teamsters live in Wisconsin and we thought more time should be allowed for labor and business leaders can work together to find a solution which would work for all parties involved.


On Friday, May 6th, the U.S. Treasury rejected CSPF's extreme proposal. This is great news, as these cuts would have fallen squarely on the middle class and had far-reaching consequences for our state and our country. This will provide protection to Teamsters' pensions while labor and management continue to work to find a solution which maintains the promises made to these Teamsters in exchange for their hard work for so many years.


Woman's Club of Kenosha Celebrates 125th Anniversary


Founded in 1981, the Woman's Club of Kenosha recently celebrated its 125th anniversary. With ongoing projects ranging from a scholarship program to the Helen Mears art contest to the Quilt of Valor program, the Woman's Club of Kenosha truly lives out its mission of supporting the welfare of the community and home life, recognizing the needs of others, and enjoying a sisterhood in which lasting friendships and personal growth occur through volunteer service.


Congratulations to the Woman's Club of Kenosha!


Local Resource:
Art in Kenosha


Founded in late 2015. Kenosha galleries and art spaces have come together to form Art in Kenosha. The group is committed to spreading awareness of the artistic renaissance that's occurring in Kenosha.



Many of the Art in Kenosha galleries display artwork made by extraordinary local, as well as established, artists and craftspeople. Art is alive and well here in Kenosha, and Art in Kenosha is excited to let the world know all about it.



Summer Church Festivals


Mount Carmel Parish Festival
When: Friday, July 8-Sunday, July 10

Where: Columbus Park, 2003 54th Street

St. Therese Parish Festival
When: Friday, July 15-Sunday, July 17

Where: 2020 91st Street

St. Mary's Parish Festival
When: Saturday, July 23-Sunday, July 24

Where: 7307 40th Ave

St. Peter's Family Festival
When: Friday, August 5-Sunday, August 7

Where: 2224 30th Ave

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Festival
When: Friday, August 12-Sunday, August 14

Where: 2224 45th Street


St. Elizabeth Parish Festival

When: Saturday, September 10-Sunday, September 11


May is National Stroke Awareness Month


There are nearly 130,000 stroke deaths each year—that’s 1 in 20 deaths. Although you can’t control every risk factor, there are steps you can take today to reduce your chances of stroke.


It is also critically important to know the signs of stroke, and to act FAST if you see them.

  • F: Face droops

  • A: Arm drifts

  • S: Speech slurs

  • T: Time is critical. Call 9-1-1.

You can find out more about how to better prevent a stroke by clicking HERE and visiting the National Stroke Association's online information.


BCPL Distributes Library Aid Dollars to KUSD


Last month, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) distributed earnings for the Common School Fund to school districts across Wisconsin. These distributions reduce local property taxes by providing an alternative source for funding to public schools. They are the sole source of state funding for public school libraries.


BCPL distributed $1,899,306 to KUSD. For many school districts, this is the only money available for library materials including books, newspapers and periodicals, web-based resources, and computer hardware and software.


Thanks to BCPL for its excellent stewardship and its distribution for public school libraries in the 65th Assembly District.



Job Center of Wisconsin Website Updates


The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) recently launched additional improvements to (JCW).


Phase III implements numerous changes to the highly popular MyLMI feature including:

  • A new customizable education and training search tool for educators, counselors, parents and students to find educational institutions and training providers for desired occupations in specific geographic regions.
    Updates to the existing County Wages and Candidate Map search tools.

  • Language and functionality improvements to optimize MyLMI for first-time and returning users.

Other enhancements include:

  • Added features on the MyJCW dashboard for registered employers, such as a new "My Favorite Resume Searches" tool that allows employers to find talent for open positions more quickly

  • Additional system enhancements that streamline processes to create a more efficient and seamless user experience.

You can click HERE to view a short video introduction to the new JCW features.



Friends and Neighbors,


Throughout our state and nation this Memorial Day weekend, thousands of individuals and families will take time to enjoy a long weekend together. Whether you are traveling or staying at home, though, I hope you will join me in taking some time to remember and honor those who died while serving our country.


As always, if you would like something to be included in future e-newsletters or if you need help with any state related issue, just let me know at (608) 266-0455 or




Tod Ohnstad
State Representative
65th Assembly District


Representative Ohnstad with Rebecca Stevens (L) and Rose Perez (R) after being recognized as an Instrumental Volunteer at KAFASI's annual Recognition Breakfast


Right-to-Work Law

A Dane County judge struck down the state's right-to-law effective immediately. In 2015, several labor unions sued the state alleging that the law was unconstitutional because union services were being given to non-union workers even though the non-union workers were no longer required to paid dues as a condition of employment.

Judge William Foust agreed calling the state's right-to-work law an illegal "taking" of the unions' services. He also noted that there is a fundamental "free-rider" problem because the law allows non-members to refuse to pay for something that unions are compelled, by state and federal law, to provide.

Attorney General Brad Schimel expressed disappointment at the ruling, but felt the law would be upheld on appeal. He was also concerned at the turmoil that the ruling would generate given the immediacy with which the judge's order took effect . Gov. Walker also felt confident that the ruling would be reversed. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called into question Judge Foust's ruling saying the judge was trying to legislate from the bench. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said the ruling was a victory for workers' rights and middle-class families.


Unfortunately, on May 24, 2016, the law was reinstated after a Wausau Court of Appeals judge held that the lower court overstepped its bounds in putting the law immediately on hold. Judge Stark noted that based on the record in the case the unions would not suffer substantial harm if the law was reinstated. The case will most likely go to the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservatives 5-2.


Wisconsin Redistricting Lawsuit

12 Democrats filed suit in federal court against Republican lawmakers challenging how the Republicans drew legislative districts in 2011. The Democrats claimed that their voting rights were violated as a result of the lawmakers drawing legislative districts so favorable to the Republicans. The hope of the Democrats bringing the case is that a standard will be set by the court which will then be used around the country to determine when politicians—Republicans or Democrats—go too far when drawing legislative maps.

Lawmakers have to draw new legislative maps every 10 years to account for the changes in population and when the Republicans won control of the legislature in 2010 and drew legislative maps in 2011, they drew the maps in their favor. Furthermore, we argued, the way the maps were drawn have and would allow the Republicans to maintain their legislative advantage for the next 10 years.

The trial is set for May 24th and the Democrats are asking a three-judge panel to throw out the current maps and redraw new ones. The Democrats' insistence on a three-judge panel means that rulings bypass the usual route for appeals and go straight to the Supreme Court.


Further information about the lawsuit can be found HERE

New Kenosha Artwork
Featured in State Capitol

The beginning of May brought with it a changeover in the local artwork displayed in my office in our State Capitol building. Here are the new pieces which will be displayed for the next several months.


Artist Barbara Farrell, "Dunes Sunrise," Watercolor


Diana Becker, "Sunflowers II," Acrylic


Artist Peter Zielinski, "Boundary Waters," Acrylic


Thank you once more to Lemon Street Gallery for sharing this wonderful Kenosha artwork with all visitors to my State capitol office.



And thank you to all of our talented artists. Your contributions to our community do not go unnoticed.


Summer Music Events Kick Off

We are fortunate in Kenosha to have a number of free public music performances throughout the summer months. Here is a quick reminder about the performances you can look forward to.

  • Kenosha Pops Concert Band
    When: Wednesdays from June - August, 7pm
    Where: Sesquicentennial Bandshell at Pennoyer Park, 35th Street & 7th Avenue

  • Peanut Butter & Jam Concert Series
    When: Thursdays from July - August, 11:30am-1:30pm and 6:30-8:30pm
    Where: Veterans Memorial Park, 54th Street & 6th Avenue

  • Twilight Jazz at Anderson
    When: Tuesdays beginning June 28th at 7pm (grounds open at 6pm)
    Where: Anderson Arts Center

Workers Memorial Day Observed April 28th

On April 28th, I joined workers from around the state in Madison for the 2nd annual Construction Workers Memorial Day service. I felt it was important to remember and honor those construction workers who passed away on the job. I was reminded of how many changes have taken place at the state level which make life harder for all workers, and make them worry about their safety and security. It may be an uphill battle these days, but I will continue to do anything I can to lift workers up rather than tear them down.


Kenosha Farmers Markets Up and Running

One of my favorite things to do in the summer months is stop by one of Kenosha's several Farmer's Markets, whether during the week or on a weekend. Here is a list of the times and days of the week for each location.

  • Kenosha Farmer's Market - Union Park
    45th Street & 8th Avenue
    Tuesdays, 6am - 12pm

  • Kenosha Farmer's Market - Columbus Park
    54th Street & 22nd Avenue
    Wednesdays, 6am - 12pm & Saturdays 6am - 1pm

  • Kenosha Farmer's Market - Lincoln Park
    18th Avenue & 70th Street
    Thursdays, 6am - 12pm

  • Kenosha Farmer's Market - Baker Park
    66th Street & Sheridan Road
    Fridays, 6am - 12pm

In addition to the rotating farmers market, there is also the HarborMarket on Saturdays, located at 56th Street & 2nd Avenue. HarborMarket runs each Saturday from 9am - 2pm.


Rep. Ohnstad Receives 100% Lifetime Voting Record from Wisconsin AFL-CIO

At the conclusion of each legislative session, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO evaluates key votes taken by members of the state legislature. After analyzing the votes, each legislator is giving a rating, which indicates how much their votes supported Wisconsin's working people.


This session, just like last session, I was proud to have a 100% record and maintain my 100% lifetime voting record for workers.


Kenosha County Food Security

On May 3rd, I was pleased to attend the kick-off event for the Kenosha Health Improvement Program (K-HIP). K-HIP is a new 15-month initiative to increase access to healthy food for families and individuals in Kenosha County, as well as improve opportunities for chronic disease prevention and reduction through community and clinical linkages. Right now, 12% of people living in Kenosha County are food insecure, which means they are skipping meals, cutting back on the quality and quantity of what they eat, or relying on emergency sources for food. This is obviously a disturbing statistic, and I am glad K-HIP is raising awareness and taking action to address this important issue.



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