State Capitol Report


March 18, 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:


District Events

Susan B. Anthony – Women of Influence Awards Dinner

When: Friday, March 18th, 5:30-9pm

Where: Parkway Chateau, 12304 75th Street, Kenosha

Tickets: Click HERE for more information


16th Annual Books and Bowls Event

When: Wednesday, March 23rd

**Lunch session from 11am-1pm

**Dinner session from 5-7pm

Where: Rhode Center for the Arts, Grand Lobby

What: This is the Rhode Center's annual soup contest and local author showcase

Tickets: $20/person - click HERE to order


Soup Is Still On After 33 Years

When: Saturday, March 26th, 11am-1pm

Where: Shalom Center, 1713 62nd Ave

What: The first soup kitchen meal was March 26, 1983 and 17 guests were served. The soup kitchen will have served 12,054 days straight on March 26, 2016 and served over 1.5 million meals.

Note: Soup and refreshments will be served. $33 donation in honor of the event is encouraged but not necessary to attend.


Downtown Bunny Hop

When: Saturday, March 26th - gather at 10am, procession at 10:30am

Where: The Coffee Pot, 4914 7th Ave

What: Families will gather to enjoy chalk art and other activities. At 10:30 am, costumed characters will be leading a procession to Library Park.

Downtown Easter Egg Hunt

When: Saturday, March 26th

**Music will begin around 10:00am as event marshals prepare the grounds.

The hunt will commence after the "Bunny Hop" arrives, between 11:15am and 11:30am.

Note: Eggs will be of the plastic variety, and will be distributed throughout the Park grounds. After a group countdown, children will be allowed to collect eggs that will be filled with goodies. There will be a zone for smaller children to enjoy away from the more crowded fields as well.


Frank & Cheryl Parise's 9th Annual Autism Benefit
When: Saturday, April 9th, 1-6pm
Where: UAW Local 72 headquarters, 3615 Washington Road
What: There will be a silent auction, raffles, food and fun! Tickets are $5.00 at the door. A majority of the proceeds will again go toward our local school, special-education rooms; but, this year we are also joining hands and helping the Kenosha Achievement Center, Every Child's Place and Open Wings.
For more information: Click HERE for Facebook event link



ICYMI: Wisconsin Promise program applications lagging


The Wisconsin Promise program helps disabled youth transition through school, prepare for college, prepare for a career, and undergo job training. Funded by federal dollars, Wisconsin Promise will help youth and their families meet their school and work goals in order to better their income and financial stability, reducing poverty. The goal of Wisconsin Promise is to help youths become self-sufficient adults.


 In Kenosha County, there are 219 eligible individuals, but only 59 have applied so far. The deadline to apply is April 30th, so there is still time. But the program is nearing enrollment capacity, so be sure to apply soon.


Youth and families can call 1-855-480-5618 to arrange to meet with a Promise Intake Coordinator in person, or enroll online HERE.



Local Resource: Kenosha Creative Space


Located at 5722 Sixth Avenue, the Kenosha Creative Space is a community project of the Kenosha Art Association and Expose Kenosha in collaboration with the Kenosha Community Foundation. The Kenosha Creative Space is made possible by a City of Kenosha Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).


The KAA is relocating its office to the Kenosha Creative Space, as well as other local non-profits interested in doing so as well. One of the project goals is for tenants to form an entity to take ownership of the building.


I encourage you to check out the Kenosha Creative Space on the web and on Facebook.



KACVB wins JEM grant for Border War Beer Fest


Congratulations again to the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitor Bureau, which received a Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism for the amount of $30,000 for the Border War Beer Fest 2016 event. The Border War Beer Fest will take place on June 25th . The projected economic impact of this event is approximately $99,800.



March Is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month


Did you know approximately 400,000 Americans are living with Multiple Sclerosis? With more than 200 people being diagnosed with MS every week, it is very important for us to understand it and understand how we can support folks living with MS. 


MS is more common in women, appears more commonly in Caucasians, and in commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 50. MS is not fatal, but it is a chronic condition. Treatments exist to help slow the progression of the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference.


Some common initial symptoms of MS are:

  • Blurred, suddenly decreased, or double vision

  • Numbness

  • Tingling

  • Loss of balance or coordination

  • Weakness in an arm or leg

  • Heat sensitivity (which may trigger the above)

If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms, it is very important to speak with your healthcare provider.



Friends and Neighbors,


With the snow of winter melting away and the sunshine of spring beginning to become a more frequent occurrence, life and work in Kenosha has a new refreshed quality for many folks. In the spring, I like to pause to reflect on just how much happened in the cold winter months and also start planning ahead for how I am going to spend my time and energy in the spring and summertime.


The Assembly has been out of session for almost a month now. The Senate completed its final actions of the legislative session in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. But even if the state legislature has wrapped up its official work for the year, I know there is still a lot to do on behalf of the good people of Kenosha.


As always, 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


2015-16 Legislative Session Is Over

With the State Senate's final day of floor session earlier this week and Speaker Robin Vos' declaration that the Assembly will not reconvene to take any further action this year, the 2015-16 legislative session appears to be over for good. Even though we are officially out of session, I will continue to meet with constituents, community leaders, and fellow elected officials to make sure I am doing everything I can to be responsive to the needs and interests of Kenosha.


Hearing Requested To Consider Audit of State Corrections Department

Over the past several weeks and months, Wisconsin's Department of Corrections has been in the news for a variety of reasons - problems about staff shortages and forced overtime, prison overpopulation, the horrifying assaults and treatment of children at the Lincoln Hills juvenile correctional facility. In recent weeks, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has reportedly taken over an investigation of Lincoln Hills facility, former Secretary Ed Wall resigned, and current Secretary Jon Litscher was appointed to head the state Department of Corrections.


In light of these revelations and events, I joined several legislative colleagues in sending a letter to Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Powers Lake) to request formally the Joint Legislative Audit Committee hold a public hearing so the Committee may consider directing the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) to conduct an audit of the Department of Corrections. (Click HERE to view the audit request letter.) There are so many unanswered questions. The people of Wisconsin deserve answers. Fortunately, the LAB is widely recognized for its quality, professional, nonpartisan work. Directing the LAB to conduct an audit of the Corrections Department is not simply appropriate, but necessary.


While we wait to hear back from the co-chairs of the Audit Committee, I encourage anyone with information about specific concerns at the Corrections Department to contact the LAB Hotline (1-877-FRAUD-17). The LAB is required by law to protect the identity of callers and will investigate the tips it receives.


Constituents Visit The Capitol

This month, I was pleased to welcome several groups of constituents to the State Capitol. Thank you for your advocacy and hard work.


L to R: Christian Gregory, BCG Kenosha Director of Teen

Services Darryl Anderson, Ciko Anderson


L to R: Kenneth Murray (Kenosha Symphony), Francisco Loyola (Community Arts Advocate), Rep. Ohnstad, Beth Dary (Lemon Street Gallery), Amy Greil (UW-Extension Kenosha County)


Rep. Ohnstad staff with Survival Coalition advocates from Kenosha


Rep. Ohnstad with several members of the Tavern League of Kenosha County


Lead Poisoning Information

With the problems with lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan recently in the news, I have begun to consider what action we can take here in Wisconsin to ensure a similar crisis does not develop in our state. As I begin researching and continue talking with fellow legislators about the Flint water crisis, I wanted to share some interesting items with you.


First, two of my colleagues, Representative LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) and Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) have authored a column about the importance of clean drinking water and the importance of making sure a Flint water situation does not happen here in Wisconsin.


Second, I wanted to share the state Department of Health Services' 2014 Report on Childhood Lead Poisoning in Wisconsin. Lead poisoning is hugely damaging for anyone. But children suffer a particular harm from lead poisoning, because of the lifelong physical, behavioral, intellectual, and health changes they experience. I encourage you to review this report and think about the special harms suffered by children who get lead poisoning.


Third, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism published a fascinating article on January 31, 2016 on this same topic.  The issues of clean water and lead poisoning are not going away. We must take action and we must do so as effectively as possible.


"Made In Wisconsin" Program Launched

Companies operating in Wisconsin now have a new tool—an official “Made In Wisconsin” logo—to help market the origin and quality of their products, thanks to a new state program.



The Made In Wisconsin program includes several variations, which can be used as applicable for a company's individual circumstances. Options are:

  • Made In Wisconsin

  • Manufactured In Wisconsin

  • Produced In Wisconsin

  • Built In Wisconsin

  • Grown In Wisconsin

  • Invented In Wisconsin

  • Designed In Wisconsin

  • Engineered In Wisconsin

  • Brewed In Wisconsin

THIS video provides a great overview of the program, as well as some examples of Wisconsin companies participating in the Made in Wisconsin program.


There is no cost to use the logo. Companies that wish to participate fill out a simple application stating how they will use the logo and certifying that the product or service on which they seek to use the mark fulfills program requirements. Once an application is approved, the company can download high-resolution image files for the specified use.


For more information click HERE to visit the Made In Wisconsin website.


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