Friends and Neighbors,

The Joint Finance Committee had their first executive session last week Thursday where Republican members blocked many popular provisions of Governor Evers' proposed budget. Rather than embracing the wishes of voters and working to find compromise on critical issues, GOP leaders voted to gut strongly supported provisions of the budget, including the cornerstone of Gov. Evers' budget: Medicaid Expansion.

I'm extremely disappointed in this decision and they must be held accountable for their actions. This partisan hit on Governor Evers is not what the people of Wisconsin voted for or want out of their state legislators. They want compromise, discussion, and solutions that help move Wisconsin forward. I encourage you to call Republican legislators and tell them your voice should not be ignored: 800-362-9472. Our work is not done here in ensuring every Wisconsinite has access to affordable health care. 

I always welcome your feedback and opinions, so please feel free to contact me.  Also, if you would like something to be included in future e-newsletters, just let me know at (608) 266-0455 or


Tod Signature


Medicaid Expansion

Governor Evers created his proposed budget based on the priorities shared at various listening sessions across the state, and health care was number one on that list. Wasting no time, Gov. Evers insisted that Wisconsin accepts new federal dollars to be invested in our health care system, a process known as Medicaid Expansion. 

1.1 million Wisconsinites rely on Medicaid for health care, and this expansion would cover childless adults, parents, and caretakers with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. On top of that, accepting the $1.6 billion federal dollars would allow 82,000 additional citizens access to affordable health care while saving our state $324 million. There's no reason why we are not taking advantage of the federal dollars. Republicans seem to be more interested in giving handouts to people who don't need them rather than helping a struggling family receive accessible and affordable health care. 

There's no denying that Medicaid expansion is the right choice for Wisconsinites. Many Republican Governors across the country have taken federal Medicaid support, so why are Wisconsin Republicans refusing Medicaid funding when 70% of people support it? 

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Medicaid Expansion in Kenosha

It’s important to discuss the positive impact expanding Medicaid in our community would have. Not only would expand coverage to an additional 2,637 residents, it would include a $63 million dollar investment for health care related programs. Below is a list of new investments Medicaid Expansion would have offered to Kenosha County:

  • $1.2 million to expand access to behavioral health
  • $1.6 million in preventing childhood lead poisoning through lead abatement
  • $1.3 million to improve access to dental services
  • $2.5 million for postpartum coverage for new mothers and new community health programs
  • $2.1 million increase for physicians
  • $2.1 million increase for hospitals
  • $1.9 million for providers in long-term care program and services and boosting wages for care workers
  • $21.9 million for current Medicaid, BadgerCare Plus, SeniorCare, and Foodshare Employment, and permanently ending the waitlist in the Children’s Long-Term Support Waiver Program.

Other Budget Items Removed 

In total, 131 budget items were removed during last Thursday's executive session. Below are just some of the items that were removed. Many of these programs below would have helped the people of Wisconsin. It's a shame that the Republican controlled legislature decided their interests came before yours:  

  • Establishment of the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy
  • Minimum Markup on Fuel 
  • Many Economic Support and TANF-Funded Programs
  • Automatic Voter Registration 
  • Board Oversight of Disability Programs and Reserve Policy 
  • Lead Service Line Replacement 
  • Homestead Tax Credit 
  • Family Planning and Women's Health Block Grant 
  • Prescription Drug Importation Program 
  • Student Loan Refinancing Study Committee 
  • Prescription Drug Pricing and Cost Reporting 
  • Congressional Redistricting
  • Medical Marijuana Regulation 
  • Decriminalization, Expungement, and Dismissal of Certain Marijuana Offenses  
  • Capping Private School Vouches 
  • Special Needs Scholarship Programs 
  • Special Education Funding 
  • Teacher Development Grants 
  • Paid Planning Time for Teachers 
  • Municipal Broadband in Undeserved or Unserved Areas 
  • State Broadband Access Goal 
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Resource Programs 
  • Dark Stores 
  • Levy Limit Increase of 2% 
  • Transportation Funding 
  • Drivers Licenses and Identification Cards for Undocumented Immigrants 
  • Nonresident Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants 
  • Minimum Wage Increase 
  • Right-to-work  
  • Prevailing Wage 
  • Project Labor Agreements 
  • Job Applicant Conviction History 

The Budget Going Forward 

This week there will be two more executive sessions: Tuesday and Thursday. Today, Republicans are planning to gut many of the clean drinking water and clean air initiatives in Gov. Evers proposal. On Thursday, the committee plans to vote on various  homelessness initiatives - it's unclear what direction the Republicans plan to take. A budget is expected to be passed at the end of June, but it's not going to look anything like the Governor's. It's important my colleagues and I continue working for the people of Wisconsin and keep trying to pass a budget that works for you, not special interests. 

What Else is Going On? 

Recent Marijuana Legislation

Towards the end of April, Rep. Sargent, Sen. Johnson, and I reintroduced legislation to allow for full cannabis legalization and regulation in Wisconsin. However, the Republican controlled legislature shut it down. From the potential millions in projected state revenue growth, to the thousands of new jobs that could be created through the development of new industries, to addressing the huge costs to both the individual and taxpayers for unnecessarily incarcerating citizens on marijuana charges - this proposal makes sense for Wisconsin. Regardless of the divided government in Madison, I will continue to lead the effort to reform marijuana laws here in our state.  


Beware of Summer Scammers 

Warmer weather has finally arrived, and that means solicitors are beginning to offer a wide range of services to empty your wallets. The Better Business Bureau in Wisconsin reminds people to be alert and have a plan in place when it comes to door-to-door solicitors and telephone scams. Though many door-to-door sales people have honest intentions, there are others who are only looking to make a sale and move on.

During the warmer months, beware of the “grandparents scam.” This is a scam used by a fraud that calls a potential victim out of the blue and claims to be a relative (often a grandchild) that is in a bind and in immediate need of money. The fraudster will claim they are traveling abroad and were arrested or in an accident and need money wired fast. If you come across something fishy like this, call the Bureau of Consumer Protection (800-422-7128) or your local police on their non-emergency line.


Waukegan Explosion 

You may have heard about this devastating story about Jeff Cummings of Kenosha who died in an explosion and fire at AB Specialty Sillicones chemical plant. He was believed to be on a heroic, rescue mission saving others from the fire. He helped everyone else before he helped himself and died a hero - a GoFundMe page was created for the Cummings family. My condolences also go out to the other victims who died at the explosion: Allen Stevens of Paddock Lake and Byron Biehn of Union Grove.


New State Assembly Member: Rep. Tip McGuire 

I am pleased to welcome our newest Wisconsin State Assembly Representative, Tip McGuire. As a long-time resident of Kenosha and former aide to former Rep. Peter Barca, I'm confident Representative McGuire will represent his district with passion, confidence, and have the determination to move Wisconsin forward. Congratulations, Tip! Let's get to work. 

JEM Grants 

The Kenosha Area CVB has secured two JEM (Joint Effort Marketing) grants from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The grant program reimburses Wisconsin non-profit organizations for qualified advertising costs. The Tribute Island Music Festival in July was awarded $12,565, while the HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival in August was awarded up to $13,000. Keep up the great work! 



Upcoming Events 

What: Carthage Wind Orchestra and Concert Band

When: May 17th, 7:30pm

Where: Carthage College, 2001 Alford Park Drive, Kenosha

What: Women in History Tea: Amelia Earhart

When: May 18th, 1pm 

Where: Pringle Nature Center, 9800 160th Ave, Bristol

What: Open Wings Color Fun Run              

When: May 19th, 9-11am

Where: Prairie Springs Park, 990 Terwall Terrace, Pleasant Prairie

What: Memorial Day Spring Fling  

When: May 25th, 7pm

Where: Kemper Center Simmons Auditorium, 6501 3rd Ave, Kenosha 

What: Boundless Adventures Opening

When: May 25th - 27th, 8:30am-6pm

Where: Bristol Woods Park, 9800 County Hwy. M, Bristol 

What: Batty About Bats

When: May 31st, 7:30-8:30pm

Where: Pringle Nature Center, 9800 160th Ave, Bristol 


What: Blessing of the Fleet

When: June 2nd, 10:30am

Where: Kenosha Yacht Club, 5130 4th Ave, Kenosha

What: Good Old Summertime Art Fair

When: June 2nd, 10am-4pm

Where: Civic Center Park, 900 57th St, Kenosha

What: Spring on the Farm 

When: June 8th-9th, time TBD

Where: Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm, 7150 18th St, Kenosha

What: Kenosha County Dairy Breakfast

When: June 15th, 6:30-10:30am

Where: Mighty Grand Dairy Farm, 2281 18th Street, Union Grove 

What: Transparent Water Color Show

When: Until August 4th

Where: Kenosha Public Museum



Phone: 608-237-9530           



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Copyright © 2017 State Representative Tod Ohnstad, 65th Assembly District. All rights reserved.