State Capitol Report


February 22nd, 2019 

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:


Upcoming Events


Anderson Arts Center Fiber Exhibits

When: Now through March 20th

Where: Anderson Arts Center, 121 - 66th Street, Kenosha


Great Kenosha Pizza Bake-Off

What: Sample over 40 pizzas served from local pizza establishments and vote for your favorite tasting pizza

When: February 24th from 5-7pm

Where: Parkway Chateau, 12304 75th Street, Kenosha
: $10/adult in advance ($12 at the door), $5 in advance ($6 at the door) for children 10 and younger. Tickets are available in advance at the Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha (1330 52nd St)


Kenosha Expo Health & Home Show

When: March 2nd, 2019 10AM—4PM

Where: UW-Parkside Frank J. Petretti Fieldhouse
900 Wood Road Kenosha, WI 53144

What: The 2019 Kenosha Expo - Health & Home Show is a family-friendly, fun and informative opportunity to meet the many businesses and organizations that make the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce such a strong association. Email with questions.


Susan B. Anthony – Women of Influence Awards Dinner

When: Friday, March 8th, 5:30-9pm

Where: Madriano Marina Shores

What: Click HERE for more information



“Reaching for Rainbows” Pursuit of Excellence Gala

When: April 9th, 2019 5:30 reception, 6:30 dinner

Where: Carthage College, Todd Wehr Center

What: Tickets are $50 per person, To purchase tickets, obtain sponsorship or ad information or to donate, visit, call Karen Kaiser at the Kenosha Community Foundation 262-654-2412 or email


Friends and Neighbors,

The past few weeks have been busy ones in my State Capitol office.  From committee hearings to constituent visits to meetings on legislation, it has been a whirlwind of discussions, activity, and action.  I have also enjoyed seeing so many of you out and about in Kenosha as I have attended events and spoken with you about the issues facing our state.

A few weeks ago, Governor Evers’ addressed the state with his vision of access to affordable healthcare, family-supporting jobs, better schools, and improved roads.  I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues on a bipartisan basis to achieve these commonsense goals. I am optimistic about the future state of our state as Governor Tony Evers moves Wisconsin forward.

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 Ohnstad
State Representative
65th Assembly District


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Meeting with Governor Evers 

It’s refreshing to have a Governor who is ready to work for the people of Wisconsin.

  1. Reciprocity for federal retiree pensions - Under current law, one large group of federal retirees has their pension exempt from state income tax while another, much smaller group of retirees is taxed on their pension. Among the federal retirees taxed on their pensions are postal workers, civilian employees of the armed forces, the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Veterans’ Affairs employees, and Treasury Department Employees.


  1. Lunch shaming – This proposal would address the harmful and unnecessary stigmatization of students who are recipients of free or reduced lunch.


  1. Hate crime hotline – This proposal creates a simple, centralized hotline for Wisconsinites who witness hate crimes to report these heinous offenses to the Department of Justice. 


  1. Removing lead paint from child care facilities ­– This proposal requires child care centers and child care providers to test for lead in drinking water and to provide potable water if lead contamination is found in order to obtain, renew, or continue a child care center license or child care provider certification.


2019 declared as “The Year of Clean Drinking Water”

Safe, clean, drinking water is fundamental to the health of all Wisconsinites, which is one of the biggest reasons I applaud Gov. Evers for declaring 2019 as the year of clean drinking water. 1.7 million Wisconsin families rely on private wells and between 2007 and 2010, state health departments tested about 4,000 private wells and found that 47% did not meet one or more health-based standards for measures like bacteria, nitrates and heavy metals, according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health

This will go a long way toward getting assistance to communities that are trying to replace the lead pipes that carry contaminated water to Wisconsin families and many lead to long term developmental problems for our children.

I am optimistic about the future state of our state as Governor Tony Evers moves Wisconsin forward.  Governor Evers’s vision of access to healthcare for all, family-supporting jobs, better schools, and improved roads has broad support from Kenosha residents across the political spectrum.  I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues on a bipartisan basis to achieve these common sense goals.

GOP Spending Plan

Wisconsin Democrats have offered a tax reform plan, providing broader relief for Wisconsin families from a sustainable long-term funding source.  Our tax plan would first apply with tax year 2019, affecting approximately 84% of filers who have net tax liabilities, and includes a source for long term funding by capping a tax giveaway for wealthy manufacturing companies.

We all know the economy moves in cycles, and we need a viable tax cut for Wisconsin families when our state finds itself in another economic downturn. Now is the time for my Republican colleagues to stop putting politics over people and figure out a tax plan that is fair and sustainable.

Our tax plan would first apply with tax year 2019 and affects approximately 84% of filers who have net tax liabilities.


  • Single filers making up to $80,000 and joint filers making up to $125,000 will receive a full 10% tax cut that will gradually phase out until fully phasing out for single filers making up to $100,000 and joint filers making up to $150,000.


  • But we don’t just cut taxes by 10% for Wisconsin’s middle class, we’re also expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to support working families.


  • Our plan provides nearly $900 million in tax relief for middle-class families compared to $500 million in the Republicans’ plan while costing Wisconsin taxpayers less in the long-run.


Wisconsinites want family supporting jobs, funding for schools, roads, and healthcare expansion, not an irresponsible spending proposal using one-time resources to pay for a tax cut working people deserve.

The Governor’s budget will be announced in two weeks. The budget process is when tax policy should be made.

Dark Stores

For too long, hard working Wisconsinites and local officials have been denied the ability to assess taxes in a way that is fair to everyone, not just wealthy corporations. In a referendum to end dark stores, 88% of Kenosha voted overwhelmingly in support to end a system benefitting the wealthiest of Wisconsinites at the expense of those who need it most. 

I would like to commend Governor Evers on restoring equity to our tax codes and putting Wisconsin families first, with his plan to address the dark store issue in the budget.


In the last legislative session, I was pleased to join my colleague, Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), in authoring new legislation to fully legalize cannabis in the State of Wisconsin. This proposal included the manufacturing, distribution, delivering, possession, and use of both recreational and medicinal cannabis. Just earlier this month, the Governor announced his administration’s steps towards legalizing marijuana, in his 2019-2020 Budget by calling for its decriminalization and legalization for medicinal use, expungement for certain possession amounts

I know this legislation would benefit a variety of individuals, specifically veterans with PTSD and individuals with certain health complications. Rest assured I will be working closely with my colleagues to see this legislation become this coming legislative session.


Black History Month

Since 1976, Black History Month has been celebrated to honor the contributions of African American trailblazers, activists, and pioneers for all they’ve done for the State of Wisconsin and the nation. I would especially like to commend the Black Legislative Caucus for all of their hard work organizing another successful Black History Month here at the capitol.  

I was pleased to once again participate in Kenosha’s annual African American Read In at the Public Museum. I selected a piece written by a 4th grader’s entry from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” Essay contest. I would like to thank the Kenosha Public Museum for putting together this program every year, as well as all of the participants.

As February and Black History Month comes to a close, we must also take the time to reflect on how we as elected officials, can do more to support Wisconsin’s African American communities. 

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  • Gateway Technical College Offering High School Scholarships

      Each year the Gateway Foundation awards scholarships          to graduating high school seniors. For individuals                  interested in applying, please submit your application            before March 15th, 2019.  More information can be              found here

  • Donations Sought for Easter Baskets for Women and Children’s Horizon

      Donations are being sought for children who receive              assistance from Women’s and Children’s Horizon. All              donations must be collected by April 7 so there is time to assemble and deliver the baskets to Woman and Children’s Horizons in advance of the holiday .For more information, contact Justine Bidigare at 734-776-7779 or email