State Capitol Report
3rd Annual Kenosha Pride
7th Annual Michael Fechner
Memorial Pig Roast
Friends of the Museums Art Fair
Taste of Wisconsin
Pike River Rendezvous
Relay For Life of Kenosha
Kenosha Area Vietnam Veterans
Inc. (KAVV) 30th Anniversary Celebration
The Peanut Butter & Jam concert series is a wonderful summer tradition here in Kenosha. Running Thursdays from July 7 - August 27 from 11:30am-1:30pm and 6pm-8pm at Veterans Park, PB&J concerts are a great source of entertainment for young and old alike.
Bring a lawn chair, hat, umbrella and sunscreen, and come enjoy this free music performance each week. Refreshments are available, but feel free to bring your own food and drink if you prefer.
Tuesdays at the Shell is a new outdoor music series here in Kenosha. Concerts take place at the Pennoyer Park bandshell from 6-8pm on Tuesdays from now until the end of August. Click HERE for a listing of musical performances.
NAMI Kenosha is Kenosha County's voice on mental illness. NAMI Kenosha County is dedicated to improving the quality of lives for those whose lives are affected by mental illness.
NAMI Kenosha offers an array of free services including self-help and support groups, educational classes, workshops, trainings, community presentations and advocacy. These free services draw on the lived experience of individuals who have experienced mental illness in their lives.
Most importantly, NAMI Kenosha offers bimonthly support groups. The next support group meeting will be on July 23rd at St. Paul's Lutheran Church on the corner of 88th St and 39th Ave at 6PM. There will be two groups - one group for family members and friends and one group for anyone coping with a mental illness (adults and adolescents).
For more information about support groups or about NAMI Kenosha, you can call 262-652-3606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer in Wisconsin is in full swing, and a Conservation Patron license is the perfect way to enjoy all the outdoors has to offer at a great price.
Beginning August 1 of last year, Wisconsin's "No Call List" is now a permanent list. So, instead of having to re-add your phone number to the No Call List every two years, once you have registered your telephone number once, it will remain registered permanently. Even better, Wisconsin now incorporates any registered Wisconsin telephone numbers from the federal No Call List into its state list.
For more information or to register your telephone number to the No Call List, click HERE.
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 for our state. 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
A lot of activity has taken place both in Madison and in Kenosha since my last e-newsletter to you. In this update, you'll receive information about the 2015-17 state budget, the latest on a possible new Milwaukee Bucks arena, a bill I am introducing to protect vulnerable people and animals stuck in locked cars on hot days, and much more.
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 Rep.Ohnstad@legis.wi.gov.
It is my honor to serve you.
Final 2015-17 State Budget Update
At long last, a state budget has been adopted for 2015-17. Unfortunately, the budget signed into law last weekend removes $800 million dollars from our public schools in favor of unaccountable voucher schools, cuts $250 million in funding for our UW System, cuts needed transportation funding which will mean the loss of more than 5,500 jobs, and drives down wages for working people in favor of giving the wealthiest Wisconsinites a tax break. This budget moves Wisconsin backwards, not forwards. HERE is a link to my statement after the Assembly passed the budget.
In the days between when the Assembly approved the budget and the Governor signed it into law, I contacted Governor Walker to request he use his veto pen to eliminate some particularly troubling elements of the budget. One letter asked him to remove the changes to Wisconsin's long-standing prevailing wage law. I believe at a time when Wisconsin has more people falling out of the middle class than any other state in the nation, repealing prevailing wage and thus lowering wages for thousands of Wisconsinites is mean-spirited and unacceptable. Unfortunately, Gov. Walker chose not to remove this troubling provision.
My other letter asked Gov. Walker to remove the provision of the budget which would have expanded the scope and authority of the payday lending industry in our state. In an interesting turn, this request was echoed by advocates on every side of the issue. More than two dozen advocacy groups representing low-income individuals, faith groups (like Kenosha's own CUSH), and public interest organizations called upon Gov. Walker to veto the provision due to fears the language will allow payday lenders to further exploit individuals and families already in vulnerable positions. In an unusual similarity of request though, a number of business groups also called upon Gov. Walker to veto this language, out of concern regarding the incredible expansion of authority which would be given to the payday lending industry alone. Ultimately, Gov. Walker did veto this provision.
Despite this few positive pieces in the final budget, it is still clear the 2015-17 Wisconsin state budget is not good for the working people of Wisconsin. As I said in my statement last week, it is frightening to think of what the next several years will look like here in Wisconsin as a result of this divisive budget. Even under such a challenging circumstance though, I will continue working for and fighting for the needs and interest of you, the people of the 65th District.
What About A New Milwaukee Bucks Arena?
Another topic which has been getting attention in the news and around our community for many weeks now is a possible new arena for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. Several months ago, Governor Walker proposed including some public funding from the state level for a new arena in the 2015-17 state budget. That fell by the wayside before the budget was signed into law.
Negotiations have been ongoing between state leaders, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee county executive Chris Abele, Bucks owners, and others about whether a financing package can be agreed upon to build a new stadium. The NBA has indicated if the Bucks do not have a new stadium to play in by fall of 2017, it will move the team elsewhere.
This Wednesday, the State Senate passed a bill which provides for state financing toward a new Bucks arena. Now the bill will come over to the Assembly for a vote. We have not heard whether or when a vote will take place, but I am keeping a close watch on any new developments that may take place before an Assembly vote.
I have heard from many individuals on this issue, some in favor of state funding and some against, and I know a lot of folks in Kenosha feel extremely strongly in their position. To those of you who have contacted me with your views, thank you so much. For anyone who has not done so yet, but would like to tell me your thoughts, please feel free to call my office at (608) 266-0455 or email me at Rep.Ohnstad@legis.wi.gov.
DWD Secretary Reggie Newson, Rep. Ohnstad, and Vic Fernandez, Kenall director of manufacturing (Photo taken by Brian Passino)
After a grueling week at the State Capitol last week, I had the privilege to stop by and tour Kenall Manufacturing with DWD Secretary Reggie Newson. Kenall recently re-located from Illinois to Kenosha, where its plant is now located at 10200 55th Street. Kenall recently received a $388,000 grant through Wisconsin's Fast Forward training program which is housed within the Department of Workforce Development. The grant will be used to train 400 individuals at Kenall in a variety of manufacturing skills such as laser operation, TIG welding, plastic and aluminum saw operation, and warehouse operations.
Thank you to Kenall for the tour and for the outstanding work you do. I’m pleased to welcome Kenall to Kenosha and I’m sure the long tradition of manufacturing here will make this a great place for them to do business.
I am so excited to again share with you the pieces of art created by some of Kenosha's own artists which are now hanging in my State Capitol office for everyone to see. As is my tradition, I want to publicly thank the artists for their amazing work and share with you the new pieces now hanging in my office.
Artist Leslie Scott, "Spring Unfinished," Scratchboard
Artist Barbara Farrell, " August Showing," Watercolor
Artist James Block, "Sky Way Mountain," Watercolor
As always, thanks to the Lemon Street Gallery and the gallery's fantastic staff for sharing this amazing art and making the regular trip up to Madison for installation!
Rep. Ohnstad Introduces Hot Car
Good Samaritan Bill
Just a few minutes ago, I sent out an announcement to my colleagues in the legislature about a bill I am proposing with fellow Kenosha area legislators Representative Samantha Kerkman and Senator Bob Wirch. The bill will provide protection to Good Samaritans who break into a parked car to save a child, vulnerable adult, or pet who is trapped a dangerously hot car. The idea for this bill came from the Kenosha City Council, led by Alder Rocco LaMacchia.
This bill is an important step to take in protecting our children and pets, not just during hot summer months but also during an average "warm" day. Even a day that doesn't feel terribly warm can become dangerous for a person or animal stuck inside a car. Indeed, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked a little can reach 100 degrees in less than ten minutes on an 80 degree day.
bear our just how dangerous it can be for an individual left in a hot
car, particularly if a child is strapped into a carseat or unable to
open a car on their own. In 2013, 44 children died of heatstroke in
cars. In 2014, 32 children died for the same reason. Already this year,
8 children across the country have died from heatstroke due to being
left in a car which became too hot.
There is a lot of activity coming up to build the Kenosha Dream Playground Project. Later this month, starting August 20th and ending August 23rd, KDPP will be going through its Ground Level Construction Build. 60-80 volunteers are needed for every shift of the Ground Level Construction Build, so please give some thought to volunteering if you are able.
Then, in September, KDPP's Community Build Week will take place from September 7-12. No experience is needed to volunteer for Community Build Week! 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.
If you are interested in volunteering, please click HERE for more information. If you have questions about volunteering, please call or email any of the listed volunteer contacts.
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