As another new year begins, this 2017-18 legislative session is coming to an end. During the next several weeks, I encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open about the many, many bills being rushed through the legislative process. The final weeks of sessions are always known to be full of legislative activity, and I expect this year to be no different. As always, if you would like something to be included in future e-newsletters, or have a problem with a state relate related problem, just let me know at (608) 266-0455 or Rep.Ohnstad@legis.wi.gov.
Capitol Happenings To start things off this year, we heard a bill sponsored by Governor Walker asking to spend nearly seven million dollars luring people to Wisconsin. I believe we should be doing more to train Wisconsin citizens to fill the current and anticipated job demand. Just last week I read how Wisconsin is the top ten states where residents are moving elsewhere.
On Tuesday, January 23, the full Assembly met to vote on several bills. One bill I was happy to co-sponsor and vote on was Assembly Bill 688. This bill would create a Wisconsin Conservation corp program, aiming to protect, enhance, and provide access to Wisconsin's natural heritage. Additionally, this bill will encourage and enable young Wisconsinites with employment training and career pathways in a natural setting.
Kenosha Kindness Week January 12th marked the beginning of Kenosha’s 22nd annual Kindness Week with the theme of: “Cultivating a Community of Kindness with the Strength of Diversity." As you may know, Kindness Week was inspired by the late Rev. Olen Arrington Jr., a prominent community leader, and the Coalition for Dismantling Racism. I am proud of the strides Kenosha has made over the last 22 years, towards building a more welcoming and diverse community. I was pleased to be able to attend the kickoff breakfast at Indian Trail High School,
in addition to attending Gateway Technical College's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program. I would like to extend a congratulations to the recipients of the Dr. King Humanitarian Award and applaud the panelists and organizers for their hard work.
UAW Local 72 Martin Luther King Jr. Program
I had the honor to introduce guest speakers, State Rep. David Crowley of the 17th Assembly District and Mandela Barnes at the 36th annual Martin Luther King Jr.event at UAW Local 72.
Additionally, I also had the privilege to present a lifetime achievement award to long time labor activist, John Drew from Rep. Barca, Senator Wirch, the Civil Rights Committee, and myself for his commitment to advancing the rights of working people all across Wisconsin.
I would like to thank Anthony Davis and the UAW Local 72's Civil Rights Committee for putting together this program every year!
Gov. Walker's State of the State & Lincoln Hills
On Wednesday January 24th, Governor Walker gave his State of the State speech. Earlier this month, he proposed converting the troubled Lincoln Hills Juvenile Detention Facility into an adult prison while building five smaller facilities to house youth offenders throughout the state. Gov. Walker belatedly adopted this position after Democrats urged him to fix the problem for months. Our prison system is problematic due to overcrowding and ACT 10 which has led to problems in training, retaining and recruiting guards. While it is obvious we need to do something with Lincoln Hills, it is shameful our Governor has not found time to visit one Wisconsin prison while in office.
Governor Walker also continues to fail on his promise to create 250,000 new jobs for Wisconsin workers. Instead, he continues to skew Wisconsin’s economy in favor of the wealthy. Anti-worker bills like “right-to-work,” Act 10, and repeal of the prevailing wage show where Gov. Walker’s real priorities are. As the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau also noted just last week, Walker’s manufacturing and agriculture tax cut will cost $1.6 billion to taxpayers by 2019. 75% of that tax cut will go to individuals with an annual income over $1 million dollars.
Meanwhile, Gov. Walker is spending his time on desperate election year ploys like a “welfare reform” special session targeting the most vulnerable Wisconsinites, and making vague promises to close Lincoln Hills at some point in 2019. It is clear Wisconsinites aren’t buying what Gov. Walker is selling.
Upcoming Events Safe Harbor Annual Spay-ghetti Dinner When: Sunday, January 28th 2018, 12 to 6PM Where: Moose Lodge in Kenosha, 3003 30th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53144 What: This event is an all you can dinner of spaghetti, meatballs, Italian bread, salad, and dessert. The food is provided by Luisa's Restaurant and Paielli's Bakery. The cost for adults is $9, Kids under 12 are $4, and kids under 3 are free. In addition to the food we will have raffle prizes, the egg game (where you win a prize every time!) and live music starting at 3 PM. All proceeds go towards animal care at Safe Harbor Humane Society.
Kenosha Polar Plunge When: Saturday, February 3rd, 2018 Where: The Brat Stop/Parkway Chateau, 12304 75th Street, Kenosha, WI 53142 What:The Kenosha Polar Plunge is back! Registration can be found here: http://polarplungewi.org/locations/feb-3-kenosha/
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – Check-in and Registration
12:00 p.m – Opening Ceremony & Plunging
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Plunge Party – Family friendly! Enjoy food, beverages, raffles, silent auction and music by the Boys & Toys Band
African American Read-In When: Saturday, Feb. 10th, at 1:00-3:00 pm Where: Kenosha Public Museum What: Celebrate literary works by African American authors as adult and youth readers from our community lend their voices to poetry, essays, short stories, and children’s books by African American authors. The event is free and open to the public.
CUSH Weaving Common Threads When: Saturday, February 17th, 1PM to 8PM Where: St. Matthew’s Guild, 5900 7th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53140 What: Join congregations and students from around the community for an afternoon of “plarning”, making plastic yearn mats for those experiencing homelessness
Kenosha Restaurant Week When: February 17th, 2017 - February 25th, 2018 Where: Participating restaurants in the Kenosha Area What: This week is a perfect opportunity to explore new places to dine, or enjoy old favorites for a great deal! No tickets, passes or coupons are required. Just visit any (or all) of the participating restaurants and ask for the special Restaurant Week menu.
Please check with individual restaurants for reservation recommendations.
Participating restaurants and shops include: Ashling on the Lough, Bartley House, Captain Mike’s Beer & Burger Bar, Century Pub & Eatery, Choo Choo Charlie's, Elsie Mae's Bakery & Cannery, Franks Diner, Harborside Common Grounds, Kaiser's Pizza & Pub, Mike's Donuts & Chicken, Mike's Sportsbook & Meat Bar, Myrtle Mae's Sugar Emporium, Robin's Nest Cakery, Rustic Road Brewing Co., Sandy's Popper, Sazzy B, Scoops Ice Cream, Swede's, tg's Restaurant & Pub, The Buzz Cafe, The Coffee Pot, Trolley Dogs, Vinny's Restaurant, and Wine Knot Bar & Bistro.