Friends and Neighbors, 

As we start the new decade, the 2019-20 legislative session is coming to an end. This session was a little different than the last one due to having Governor Evers as our Governor. The people of Wisconsin elected a Democratic governor who showed up and got to work for them, their families, and our communities in 2019; I don’t expect 2020 to be much different.

From cutting taxes for middle-class families to investing in our kids and schools, to fixing our roads and bridges, I am proud to have worked with the Governor and Democrats in the Legislature in tackling the pressing issues facing our state. There is still plenty of work to be done, but we’re off to a start.

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


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Republican Refusals

Closing the Dark Store Loophole

Republicans continue to refuse on taking action to close the dark store loophole. This loophole allows big retail stores like Walmart to reduce their property taxes by assessing their stores as if they were vacant or “dark” stores, thus lowering their tax bills. It seems as if they would rather keep the tax burden placed on home-owners and small businesses. It’s simple – homeowners and small business should not be paying more in property taxes to subsidize national retail chains. Despite the Republicans gutting Governor Evers’ proposal to close the loophole, we will continue fighting to close it once and for all.

Marijuana Legalization

As a few Republicans have finally spoke publically regarding their support of legalizing medical marijuana, it’s a step forward, but not a big one. Wisconsin is spending far too much money prosecuting non-violent individuals who possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.  

Our neighbor, Illinois, just recently legalized marijuana and drew in over $3 million on their first day of sales. Legalizing marijuana isn’t just about the plant – it’s about legalizing opportunity and prosperity for Wisconsin. Creating new jobs and bolstering our state’s economy seems to be all Republicans talk about, but refuse to act when an opportunity is there to make it happen.

This month I did an hour long interview on medical marijuana legalization with Lenny Palmer on his morning show: WLIP, AM1050. Lenny is always great to talk to and discuss pressing issues with. Thanks again, Lenny!

Minimum Wage Increase

Wisconsin’s minimum wage has been frozen at $7.25 an hour since 2009 when federal law increased it from $6.50. Had the minimum wage kept up with inflation since 1968, it would now be about $10.56. If we had kept it up with the overall growth in income in our economy over the last four-and-a-half decades it would have been $21.16 per hour.

42% of workers in this country make less than $15 an hour. It’s not just teenagers working at fast food restaurants who make under $15 an hour – over 46% of these employees are 35 or older. This is a major issue Republicans have refused to tackle and didn’t think twice about gutting it from Governor Evers’ budget proposal.

Current Legislation

Assembly Bill 221

I've been working on this bill since June of 2019. Approximately 20,000 federal retirees in Wisconsin are subject to a double standard regarding their pension, and I want to ease the tax burden for retirees. This bill unanimously passed in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee in October, but has not been placed on the calendar for the floor yet. I hope it gets scheduled soon because it has great bipartisan support.

Victim Notice 

If you’ve been keeping up-to-date with the news, you may have saw I recently introduced legislation with Senator Van Wanggaard and Representatives Samantha Kerkman and Tip McGuire which would provide the public with a stronger notice regarding the release of a person convicted of murder. This bill has been getting attention from the majority, but it is still unclear if a committee hearing will be scheduled for it or not. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle realize the importance of this bill for our community. Given it’s bipartisan support, I’m hopeful action will be taken soon.

Kenosha Kindness Week

As many of you already know, the 24th annual Kindness Week in Kenosha kicked off last Friday. The theme is, “20/20 Visions: Focus on Kindness.” Many coalitions and other organizations participate in Kindness week and I want to thank all participants for their efforts. I was pleased to attend the kick off breakfast at Bradford and attend the annual Martin Luther King Jr. event at Gateway. If you missed the past few events, don’t worry – I’ve copied down the rest of the schedule below:  

Wisconsin Poor People’s Campaign

  • Friday, January 24th @ 6pm
  • Grace Lutheran Church, 2006 60th

Gateway Technical College Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

  • Saturday, January 25th from 8am-12pm
  • Kenosha Gateway Technical College, 3520 30th Ave

“American Son” Showing

  • Saturday, January 25th @ 6:30pm
  • Bradford Community Church, 5810 Eighth Ave

Harriet Tubman Portrayal: Pamela Welcome

  • Saturday, January 25th @ 1pm
  • Kenosha Civil War Museum, 5400 First Ave.

What Else is Happening? 

Credit Union Visit

This week, I had the opportunity to meet and catch up with some credit union members from our community. They have many legislative priorities and I look forward to supporting the bills through the legislative process! They also made me aware that the “grandmother” and “romance” scams are still occurring – so please, be careful and contact your credit union if you think something isn’t right!

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Labor Breakfast

My whole life has revolved around supporting labor unions and ensuring the people’s voices are heard. It is always special to attend these breakfasts’ and see so many like-minded people in one room. Come join us at the Boathouse on the first Saturday of the month at 7:00am for breakfast and discussion usually beginning at 7:30am. Always such a great time! 

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Kicking off Kindness Week

Mayor Antaramian and I enjoyed kicking off Kindness Week by serving breakfast. It was great to see so many friends and familiar faces!

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

I was joined by Rep. Bryan Steil, Sen. Bob Wirch, and Rep. Tip McGuire at Envision the Future’s 26th Annual MLK Celebration in Kenosha. We had the opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s accomplishments and deeds as a public servant.

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Request a Wisconsin Blue Book 

Remember, my office has 2019-2020 Blue Books to give away. Each legislator receives a limited supply of these Wisconsin resource books every two years, which function somewhat like an almanac for the state.

If you are my constituent and would like to request a copy, please call or email my office with your name and home address at (608) 266-0455 or

Kenosha County Aging & Disability Resource Center 

Volunteer Guardian Services is a program located in the Kenosha County Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) within the Kenosha County Division of Aging and Disability Services. The program provides qualified legal guardians to elderly and disabled adults in need. Since its inception, the program has grown to include over 40 guardians who make a positive difference in over 70 people’s lives. If this program sounds interesting to you, click here for more information so you can start making a difference!  

Labor Times Column 

Every month I write a column in the Labor Times Newspaper where I discuss my legislative priorities, events I participated in, and what's happening in our community. I encourage you to subscribe to Labor Times by liking their Facebook page. You can also read my December report by clicking here. If you would like to subscribe to the Southeast Wisconsin Labor Times Newspaper, call (262)-595-0329 or email 

Upcoming Events 

What: Harriet Tubman: Alive and Free 

When: January 25, 1-2pm

Where: Civil War Museum

What: The Chevelles Concert  

When: January 25, 7-10pm

Where: Kemper Center, Simmons Auditorium

What: Groundhog Day Gift Shop Sale

When: January 31-February 2, see times here

Where: Kenosha Public Museum 

What: Carthage Wind Orchestra Return from Japan Concert 

When: January 26, 2pm

Where: Carthage College

 What: Kenosha Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

When: February 1, 12pm

Where: Brat Shop, 12304 75th St

What: Kenosha Restaurant Week 

When: February 1-February 9

Where: Click here for participating Restaurants


What: African American Read-In

When: February 8, time TBA

Where: Kenosha Public Museum

What: Kenosha Expo Homeshow

When: February 29 & March 1st, 10am-4pm

Where: UW-Parkside, 900 Wood Rd

What: Great Kenosha Area Pizza Bake-off

When: February 23, 5-7pm

Where: Parkway Chateau at Brat Shop, 12304 75th St Kenosha

What: Lakeside Band Festival

When: February 29, 7pm

Where: Carthage College



Phone: 608-237-9530           



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