State Capitol Report


January 15, 2016

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


My State Capitol office will be closed on Monday, January 18th in recognition of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic for Dogs & Cats

When: Saturday, January 16, 9-11:30am

Where: Safe Harbor Humane Society, 7811 60th Ave
What: The clinical staff of Safe Harbor is available to give your pets vaccinations at a low cost during specific Vaccination Clinic days. No appointment is necessary, and pets are seen on a first come first served basis.

Gateway MLK Event

When: Monday, January 18th from 12-1:30pm

Where: Gateway Technical College, Madrigrano Auditorium

Keynote Speaker: Thelma Sias, Vice President Local Affairs for Wisconsin Energy Corporation

Urban League MLK Event
When: Wednesday, January 20th from 11:30am-1pm
Where: Italian American Club, 2217 52nd Street
Theme: "Saving Our Cities"
Cost: $16/individual ticket; $115/table of eight
RSVP: 262-652-2111

UAW Local 72 MLK Event
When: Saturday, January 23rd at 5:30pm
Where: UAW Local 72, 3615 Washington Rd
Contact: Anthony Davis (262-948-3381); Juanita Almond (262-632-7082); Hettie Gibson (262-554-8673); Betty Brown (262-633-5622); Howard McBride Jr. (847-872-0828)
Keynote Speaker: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (5th District of Missouri)
Cost: $20/adult; $10/child under 12;

African American Read-In
When: Saturday, February 13th from 1-4pm
Where: Kenosha Civil War Museum
What: Adult and youth readers from our community lend their voices to poetry, essays, short stories, and children's books by African American authors. Refreshments will follow the program.
Cost: Free

Kenosha Snow Daze
When: Saturday, February 13th, 12-3pm
Where: Downtown Kenosha
What: Library Park will become a showcase for ice sculptures by Ice Below Zero.
**Visitors may enjoy watching an ice sculpting demonstration, participating in family games and snow painting.
**People will be invited to sign their names or create a design on the graffiti ice wall.
**In addition, up to 40 downtown businesses will continue the fun, with their own ice sculptures throughout Downtown Kenosha

ICYMI: KACVB Receives JEM Grant for Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week


The Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is cooking up marketing efforts for year two of its Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week with help from a $14,850 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.



Taking place February 20-28, Downtown Kenosha's Restaurant Week includes fixed price menus from 20 restaurants, coffee shops, diners and bakeries. Grant funds will go towards new marketing materials aimed at boosting the number of Restaurant Week diners and increasing awareness of Kenosha’s bustling community of eateries.


Click HERE for a list of participating restaurants and for more information.


State Resource:
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program


The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) provides assistance for heating costs, electric costs, and energy crisis situations. Operating with federal and state funding, the program provides assistance to approximately 230,000 Wisconsin households annually.

Most types of fuel are eligible to receive assistance. Whether you use wood, propane, natural gas, electricity, or fuel oil to heat your home, energy assistance is available if you qualify.


Your household may be eligible for WHEAP services based on a number of factors. However, if the gross income for your household is less than the amount shown on the following chart, you might be eligible to receive assistance. Households must complete a Home Energy Plus application through the local WHEAP agency.

For more information on the WHEAP and how to apply, please call 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947), or visit the "Where to Apply" tab on to find your local energy assistance agency.


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 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,


As another new year begins, this 2015-16 legislative session is coming to an end. The State Capitol has been filled with committee meetings and floor sessions, as Assembly leaders have indicated the regular legislation session will conclude at the end of February. 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.


This session has been a disappointing one, with attacks on our voting rights, women's health care, government transparency, and our environment, to name just a few issues. I think we'll see more of this over the next month. At the same time, we have seen legislative Republicans ignore some of the most important issues for Wisconsinites.  They've refused to hold even a simple public hearing on raising the minimum wage, earned income tax credits for the working poor, or many other issues facing the middle class.


Regardless, you can be sure I will continue working hard to bring these important issues to the forefront and make sure the voices of the 65th district are heard.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this State Capitol Report. And, as always, 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


Tod Ohnstad
State Representative
65th Assembly District


January Declared Mentoring Month

I am very excited to tell you we are officially in the middle of Mentoring Month in Wisconsin. You may recall reading in one of my State Capitol Reports last year Assembly Joint Resolution 2 had passed the Assembly. KAFASI's RSVP Manager Rebecca Stevens and Randy Hutson, who serves as a mentor, had joined me in Madison to witness this exciting day.



Well, during one of the final days of session in 2015, the State Senate decided to pass AJR 2 as well. By doing so, January has now officially become Mentoring Month in Wisconsin!


As I did at the time, I am still serving as a mentor for a grade school student. I look forward to that mentoring time each week, and I know it is helping the student as well. Being a mentor is incredibly rewarding, both for mentors as well as the young people they are mentoring. I'm thrilled January is now Mentoring Month here, and I know it will help raise awareness about mentoring and encourage people throughout Wisconsin to consider becoming a mentor.


If you would like to learn more about becoming a mentor here in Kenosha, please click HERE to contact Rebecca Stevens.


 ICYMI: Tammy Conforti Honored

For KDPP Leadership, Innovation

Photo credit: Brian Passino, Kenosha News


By now, nearly everyone knows the Kenosha Dream Playground Project has become a reality and opened for the enjoyment of all children and their families. If you've been reading my State Capitol Reports for any length of time, you know Tammy Conforti was the driving force behind this. Because of her incredible work, I was pleased to nominate her for the 2015 Lloyd D. Gladfelter Award for Government Innovation. This award recognizes nonelected municipal, county, state, or federal employees who have helped solve problems for Wisconsin residents and improve public service in our state.


I was thrilled to learn Tammy was not only recognized by the award committee, but she received First Place! We know here in Kenosha just how hard Tammy worked to make the KDPP dream a reality, but it's extra special for her work to be recognized at the state level as well. Congratulations Tammy, and thank you again for your inspiration and determination!


Voter ID Required for 2016 Elections

Starting with the spring primary election on February 16th this year, most voters will need to show a photo ID at the polls. Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • A WI driver’s license (valid even if driving privileges have been revoked or suspended)

  • A WI state ID card from the DOT

  • A state ID card or driver’s license without a photo issued under the religious exemption

  • A military ID card issued by a U.S. uniformed service

  • A U.S. passport

The address on your ID doesn’t have to be current. The name on your ID doesn’t need to be an exact match for your name in the poll book.

To obtain a state ID card from DOT, bring proof of name, date of birth, identity, citizenship, and WI residency to a DMV office. If you don’t have a birth certificate, there is an alternate process to get a state ID. Call the DMV at (608) 266-1069 for more information.

You can find more details online at: or call (866) VOTE-WIS.

If you haven’t voted in Wisconsin before, or if you’ve moved since the last election, you will need to register to vote. You must have lived at your current address for 28 consecutive days before an election to vote from that address. If you’ve lived there fewer than 28 days, you can still vote from your old address.

You can register by mail up to 20 days before an election, at your municipal clerk’s office through the Friday before an election, or at your polling place the day of an election. To register you will need:

  • A WI driver’s license, state ID card, or the last four digits of your Social Security number

  • Proof of residence, such as a property tax bill, utility bill, bank statement, paystub, residential lease, fishing or hunting license, vehicle registration, etc.

  • A completed voter registration application, which is available at

More information is available from the Kenosha City Clerk website and at


Please share this information with your friends, family, and neighbors!



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