State Capitol Report


August 13, 2015

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 District Events

Kenosha County Fair
When: August 19th-23rd
Where: Kenosha County Fairgrounds, 30820 111th Street, Wilmot
For more information: Click HERE for admission, schedule, and direction details

HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival
When: August 15th
Where: HarborPark's Celebration Place, 54th Street & Ring Road
What: Jazz & Blues Festival to benefit the Mary Lou and Arthur F. Mahone Fund.
Tickets: General admission tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the gate. Texas Roadhouse VIP tickets are $85. Tickets can be purchased online HERE. Proceeds benefit the Mahone Fund.

Grill Games
When: August 28th-29th
Where: HarborPark, 56th Street & 1st Ave
What: BBQ Competition & Lakefront Festival, featuring community bbq challenge, live music, family fun, carnival and more!

La Fiesta Mexicana
When: Sunday, August 30 from 9am-11pm
Where: Caledonia-Mt. Pleasant Joint Park, 9614 Hwy K, Franksville (Racine County: Hwy K at Hwy H)

Downtown Kenosha Classic Cruise-in
When: September 5th, 9am-4pm
Where: Downtown Kenosha, enter at 56th Street & 7th Avenue
**Pizza, brats, and hot dogs will be available. Donations of non-perishable food will be accepted.**

13th Annual Car Show to Benefit Our Wounded Warriors
When: September 6th from 8am-4pm
**There will be a noon ceremony honoring our military.**
Where: 5001 Simmons Island Drive, Kenosha
More info: $10 show entry; spectators free. 100% of all funds raised go to our wounded warriors. Donations of used unbroken toys, books, puzzles, and games for children will be accepted

When: September 5th & 6th
Where: Harbor Park, 54th Street & 6th Ave
What: Kenosha’s second annual grilled cheese/mac and cheese invitational

Kenosha LaborFest
When: Monday, September 7th
Where: St. Therese picnic grounds, 9005 - 22nd Ave, Kenosha
What: The annual Kenosha Laborfest features booths from all labor organizations in the Kenosha area. Raffle prizes, beer tent and activities for the whole family. Rain or Shine!

Kenosha Streetcar Day
When: Saturday, September 12th, 10am-4pm
Where: McCarthy Transit Center, 724 54th Street, Kenosha
What: Tour the McCarthy Transit Center; Interactive displays; streetcars in operation;
For more information: please visit

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning
When: September 17-19
Where: Throughout Kenosha, click HERE for details
What: Cartoonists and comic strips arrive in Kenosha, WI for a 3-day festival, including a massive exhibit of comic strip art, lectures, presentations, Q&A and meet-and greets with the artists, and more!
**Click HERE for a schedule of events**


ICYMI: Bill seeks to protect rescuers of kids in overheated cars


Last month, Bill Guida of the Kenosha News wrote a great article about my Good Samaritan bill to protect folks who rescue kids, pets, and other vulnerable individuals from being locked in hot cars.  If you missed reading it then, click HERE to take a look.


I'm pleased my bill has garnered support from both sides of the political aisle, with Republicans and Democrats signing on in both the Assembly and the Senate. This bill has been formally introduced as Assembly Bill 308 (which is now in the Assembly Judiciary Committee) and Senate Bill 230 (which is now in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee). I'll keep you posted about it as things move forward.



Local Resource: Kenosha Community Health Center


Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending an Open House event at the Kenosha Community Health Center, which this week is celebrating National Health Center Week to acknowledge the 50th anniversary of America's Community Health Centers. it was a great reminder of what a great resource KCHC is for the people of Kenosha. I was inspired to take this opportunity to remind you of the services they offer as well, in case they could help you or in case you know of someone else who could use their help.


One of the most important things to note about KCHC is they offer a lot of different services, ranging from medical services to dental services to behavioral medicine to outreach services and school-based health care. They also do a great job of helping folks understand the ins and outs of the health insurance marketplate.  KCHC also has three different locations throughout Kenosha - you may be closer to one than you realize.  Last year, KCHC served 16,613 dental patients, 7,361 medical patients, and 1,450 behavior health patients.  Additionally, through an Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund, KCHC is taking a Mobile Unit into Racine within the next year.


If you would like more information about KCHC, or would like to inquire about setting up an appointment, I encourage you to call (262) 656-0044 or visit KCHC's website at  KCHC offers services on a Sliding Fee Scale basis, based on your family size and income. Thank you KCHC for your all of your dedication to and work throughout the Kenosha community!


August is National Immunization Awareness Month


As August is National Immunization Awareness Month, now is a great time to think about the importance of and the role of vaccines and immunization in our own lives, in our loved ones lives, and throughout our communities.  Many folks focus on childhood immunizations, but immunizations are important throughout the entire lifespan.  From annual flu vaccines to whooping cough vaccines for pregnant women to shingles vaccines, immunizations are important to keep in mind.



Here in Kenosha, we are fortunate to have the Kenosha Immunizations Coalition, which provides information to the public about immunizations as well as immunization services such as immunizations available Kenosha County Health Department. Vaccines are an important step to take to protect against potentially deadly diseases, so make sure to talk to your health care professional about whether you might need a vaccine or booster.


Seeking Your Ideas
For Legislation


As your state representative, one of my jobs is to introduce legislation to address Kenosha's needs and concerns. I will be focusing more and more on the laws and policies of our state. I'll be devoting time to researching what changes would make sense. If you have ideas for possible legislation, I'd love to hear about them! Do you have an idea for a state law that needs fixing? Have you had an experience that brought a state problem to light that you would like to see addressed?

I believe the best legislation comes from constituents like you. So, I hope you will contact me to share your ideas for bill! You can
email me with your legislation ideas or you can call my office at (608) 266-0455.



Friends and Neighbors,


What a whirlwind summer we have had. It seems like just yesterday school was finishing up for the year. And now the new school year is just a few weeks away. In this month's State Capitol Report, I have included some helpful reminders and information for those getting ready to head back to the classroom next month.  Also in this State Capitol Report, you will an update regarding the Milwaukee arena project, some other bills I've signed on to, the upcoming Kenosha Dream Playground Project community build week, and exciting district events. 


Next month promises to include a resurgence of activity in the State Assembly, with the legislature's next floor session beginning September 15th. As bills and topics get introduced and brought forward through the committee process, I hope you will let me know your thoughts and ideas.  


As always, if you have information you'd like me to share in future State Capitol Reports or if you have issues you'd like to see brought up, please let me know.  And if you or someone you know is having difficulty in dealing with a state agency and would like help, I hope you will give my office a call.  You can always reach me at (608) 266-0455 or


It is my honor to serve you.


Tod Ohnstad
State Representative
65th Assembly District


View of the State Capitol from State Street


Milwaukee Arena Project Signed Into Law

Last month, I shared an update with you about the proposed Milwaukee arena project, which had been approved by the State Senate, but not yet taken up by the Assembly. Since then, the proposal came to the full Assembly for a vote, where it passed 52-34. Governor Walker signed the bill into law yesterday.


Although not many constituents weighed in on the arena, a slight majority of those that did favored the project. Before voting on it, I met with the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the Southeastern Wisconsin Building & Construction Trades Council and the Teamsters, all of whom supported the bill.  After a lot of thought and careful consideration, I decided to join colleagues from both sides of the aisle to vote yes for the new Milwaukee arena project, which will provide thousands of construction jobs for the next several years as well as over 2,000 additional indirect jobs. This project will not only provide a lot of jobs, it is also a good deal for Wisconsin taxpayers given that at least $2.5 million dollars in new revenue will be generated every year of the twenty-year deal.


This project would not have been necessary if Governor Walker had signed the Kenosha casino agreement, which included the Hard Rock Café’s offer to pay the public’s share of the Milwaukee arena, however unfortunately that train left the station in February. I sincerely believe this project is in the best interest of working people and taxpayers alike.


KDPP Community Build Week

The Kenosha Dream Playground Project is scheduled to have its Community Build Week from September 7-12.  KDPP is working with the designers and community organizers from “Play by Design” out of Ithaca, NY. The community-build is a tradition that unifies and empowers communities by bringing them together to design, organize, and construct one-of-a-kind playgrounds.


I am looking forwarding to volunteering during Community Build Week and being part of the excitement of turning this project into a reality.  If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the Volunteer Interest Form available HERE. All responses are confidential. Volunteer Coordinators will be contacting you closer to the community build dates to confirm your commitment and pick specific work shifts. If you have questions about volunteering, please contact one of the two volunteer coordinators.


Other Bills Of Interest

Nearly every week during the legislative session, I receive emails from fellow state legislators with something called a "co-sponsorship memo."  These memos are circulated through the Assembly and Senate along with draft legislation. They are used to ask and encourage fellow legislators to sign their names on to a particular bill as an official supporter of the proposal.  Sometimes I sign on to the bills; other times I don't.


I thought this would be a good time to share with you some of the bills I have co-sponsored thus far this year.  Not every bill gets front page attention, simply because there are so many bills introduced each year.  But that doesn't mean they are any less significant.  Here are some bills I have co-sponsored:

  • Assembly Joint Resolution 53 - This would amend Wisconsin's constitution to reflect the Supreme Court's recent decision legalizing gay married. Currently, our state constitution bans gay marriage.

  • Assembly Bill 272 - This would provide a common sense solution to the student loan debt burden felt by so many Wisconsinites. In particular, it would allow Wisconsinites to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates and deduct student loan payments from their income tax.

  • LRB 1123 - This would delete the one-week waiting period for collecting unemployment insurance benefits.  It will allow Wisconsin's laid off workers to collect UI benefits as soon as they are eligible.

  • Senate Bill 45 - This would create the Wisconsin Private Retirement Security Board, an independent entity charged with designing a plan built on the Wisconsin Retirement System (which is currently only available to public employees) to offer low cost retirement options with strong investment returns for those who do not have an adequate employer-offered retirement plan.

  • Senate Bill 166 - This would prohibit employers from discriminating against potential applicants based on current employment status. In other words, it would protect folks who are unemployed for a long time from having their long-term unemployment held against them when applying for jobs.

  • LRB 1006 - This would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver's license in Wisconsin.

As always, if there are bills being discussed that you'd like me to look at more closely and consider co-sponsoring, I hope you will let me know. Hearing from you helps me represent the 65th District to the best of my ability, and I know co-sponsorships are a big part of that.


Back to School Resources and Reminders

As educators begin preparing their classrooms for fall and families start to get ready for a new school year, I wanted to take a moment to share some tips and resources to help everyone kick off a great 2015-16 school year.  Here are some things to think about as September gets closer and closer:

  • Immunizations & Doctor Appointments - Now is a perfect time to take your child to the doctor for a physical and eye exam. Be sure to bring any required forms with you when your child visits the doctor.

  • School Supplies - Many required school supplies can be re-used from past school years. Take a look at the supplies you have left over from last year before heading out to make a purchase.

  • Healthy Eating - Nutrition is an important factor in academic performance. Studies have shown children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches are more alert throughout the school day and earn higher grades than those who have an unhealthy diet.

Finally, click HERE to view KUSD's supply list for the 2015-16 school year. Each grade from early education and kindergarten through middle school requires something a little different, so be sure to take a look.


Wisconsin's "511" Service: Keeping Road Trips Safe and Straightforward

You may recall from past State Capitol Reports, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has created a "511" service, which provides up-to-the-minute information about traffic alerts and conditions throughout our state. Simply by visiting, you can access information for Kenosha to Superior to La Crosse to Green Bay. This is a fantastic resource for anyone planning to travel in Wisconsin, especially during the construction-heavy summer months.

You can also follow the DOT on Facebook or Twitter for specific traffic updates. Click HERE to follow the SE Wisconsin region on Twitter.



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