State Capitol Report


February 10, 2017

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 Events


Action of Public Witness for Refugees in conjunction with National Day of Jewish Action for Refugees

When: Sunday, February 12th at 4pm

Where: Beth Hillel Temple, 6050 8th Ave

What: The event will consist of local speakers, a silent march and candle lighting ceremony, songs of solidarity and prayers.

**Click HERE to view the Kenosha News article about this event.**


4th Annual Snow Daze Festival

When: Saturday, February 18th from 12-3pm

Where: Library Park (**Click HERE for a map of events.**)

What: Fifty ice sculptures will decorate Library Park and sidewalks throughout downtown Kenosha. This will include activities in Library Park including winter-themed games with local mascots at 1 p.m. and an opportunity to help decorate a “Chronicles of Kenosha” book made of ice. The Children's Room at the Simmons Library offers a chance to warm up, with craft supplies available for children to create projects related to the Narnia theme. The Kenosha Public Museum will present interactive displays with winter themes.

Cost: FREE


WCH Mardi Gras

When: Saturday, February 25th @ 6:30pm

Where: UAW Local 72

Cost: $60/individual ticket; Table of 8/$450

Attire: Costumes/Fancy Hats or Cocktail Attire

Contact: Laurie (Bastian) Hanson, 262-656-3500 or


KUSD PTA Founders Day Dinner

When: Monday, February 27th at 5:30pm

Where: Parkway Chateau

What: Gather your friends and join us for Kenosha Unified PTA Council’s 73rd Annual Founder’s Day Dinner. There will be a Silent Auction, Raffle, Scholarship Presentation and Awards.

Keynote speaker: Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis

Cost: $25/ticket



February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month


Did you know February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month? Teen Dating Violence Awareness Prevention Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it.


1 in 3 young people are affected by physical, sexual, or verbal dating violence. 1 in 5 in a serious relationship reporting having been slapped, pushed, hit, threatened, or coerced by a partner. Further, statistics show that suicidal ideation is 6-9 times more common in teens who have experienced physical or sexual violence.


If you or someone you know may be involved in a violent or otherwise abuse teen relationship, help is available. The website has an excellent set of resources, whether for you or someone you know.


And of course, 9-1-1 is always a resource in emergency situations.



Local Impact: Kenosha Planned Parenthood

For 80 years, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has provided up-to-date, clear, medically accurate information and

reproductive health care to men, women, and teens at health care centers. Recent numbers show that nearly 60,000 patients were served statewide in areas such as annual patient exams, colposcopies, breast, cervical cancer screens, and STD tests & treatments just to name a few.  57% of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin patients in 2015 live at or below the poverty line. Planned Parenthood is an incredibly important health care resource for many in our state and our community.


We are fortunate in Kenosha to have a Planned Parenthood clinic available in our own community. Planned Parenthood's Kenosha Health Center is located at 3601 Roosevelt Road, and open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. (Click HERE for hours of operation.) Staff speak both English and Spanish, but interpretation is available by telephone for other languages.


For more information on programs and services offered at the Kenosha Health Center click HERE.



Go Red For Women


Rep. Ohnstad and Legislative Colleagues Wear Red

In Support of Go Red For Women


Inspiring Words

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."


 - Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail



1917-2017: Capitol Centennial

This year, we are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of our current Wisconsin State Capitol. Visitors to the Capitol building are always amazed by the beauty and majesty of our state house. But this month, visitors can see a special display in the ground floor Rotunda, which is filled with interesting facts, figures, and photos about our building's unique history.


View of the Capitol Centennial Ceremony


I was pleased to attend the Centennial Celebration kick-off at the end of last month. our State Capitol is truly special. I hope you'll visit if you have the opportunity to do so. When you do, please stop by 128N to say hello!



Friends and Neighbors,


The 2017-18 legislative session is definitely off and running! Since my last update to you, several of my legislative committees have begun holding hearings, the Assembly has begun voting on bills. Most importantly for the next while, Governor Walker has introduced his state budget proposal.


Also since my last update, President Trump has been officially sworn into office and begun taking executive action. Several of his executive orders have been the source of great controversy and even been challenged and stopped in court. Needless to say, the world of politics and government is not quiet these days.


Despite the near-constant stream of political bombshells going off in Madison and Washington, D.C., I am remaining focused on serving and listening to you - the people of Kenosha. I was pleased to hold a listening session last month at Kenosha's South Side Library. I look forward to holding another listening session in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more details.


As always, if you would like something to be included in future e-newsletters, just let me know at (608) 266-0455 or


In solidarity,


Tod Ohnstad
State Representative
65th Assembly District


Wisconsin State Capitol in the early morning


Budget Address Reaction

On Wednesday, Governor Walker unveiled his proposal for the 2017-19 state biennial budget. Several of the major components of his budget have been highlighted in news coverage since Wednesday evening, and two things are clear from this proposal: Governor Walker is running for re-election and he knows the people of Wisconsin aren’t buying what he’s been selling the last six years.


After inflicting serious damage for six long years onto our public schools, our technical colleges, the UW System, our outdoor spaces, and, sadly, many Wisconsin families themselves, Gov. Walker knows the public has caught on to his mean-spirited policies and political giveaways. With this budget, Gov. Walker is hoping the public will forget about his disastrous record. But Wisconsinites are smarter than that.


What Wisconsin needs is a budget which prioritizes struggling public schools. A budget which comprehensively addresses Wisconsin’s run-down roads and highways. A budget which gets rid of the offensive tax giveaways Gov. Walker has given to the wealthiest in Wisconsin. A budget which provides real, meaningful support for Wisconsin’s seniors, disabled individuals, and hardworking families who are struggling to get by. I’m disappointed to see Governor Walker’s budget does none of those things.


At first glance, this is a budget grounded in political ambition. In the coming weeks, I will be reviewing the budget’s fine print to identify and understand the hidden proposals Governor Walker didn’t mention in his speech. History has shown there is always more to one of Governor Walker’s budgets than meets the eye.


Rep. Ohnstad Proposes Legislation to Combat Hate Crime in Wisconsin

In recent months, renewed attention has been brought to the issue of hate crimes in our state and our nation. The FBI recently reported that attacks against American Muslims rose in 2015, up by 340 from the year before to a total of 5,818 nationwide. Since early November, the Southern Poverty Law Center has received reports of more than 400 incidents of hateful intimidation or harassment nationwide. There have also been increased reports of vandalism to synagogues across the country, not to mention increased attacks on African American and Hispanic individuals.

Unfortunately, we have been witnessing such actions here in Wisconsin as well. Just last month, a family in Kenosha reported being targeted due to a possible hate crime; their car tires were slashed and a yard sign displayed at their home was defaced with racial slurs.


To give Wisconsinites another tool to report suspected hate crimes and to remind all Wisconsinites that hate is neither welcome nor tolerated in our state, I am proud to be introducing legislation to establish a Hate Crimes Hotline. The hotline would not take the place of calling 911 in an emergency. Rather, it would be another way in which Wisconsin shows it does not welcome or tolerate hate crimes or any bias-based harassment or intimidation.


I am joined by State Senator LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee in introducing this bill. Many of you may remember Senator Johnson from her remarks at the UAW Local 72 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner last month. We believe creating a hate crime hotline is a common sense step to take in combating hate crimes and discriminatory behaviors in our state. I will keep you updated as our bill receives an official bill number and begins to move through the legislative process.


Rep. Ohnstad Calls on Speaker Ryan, Governor Walker to stop their attacks on Planned Parenthood

Rep. Ohnstad joined fellow Assembly Democratic legislators and staff in wearing pink in honor of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin


For the last several years, Planned Parenthood has again been under attack by Republicans in Madison and in Washington, despite 62% of Americans being opposed to eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, now that the Republicans have political control of both the federal level and state level of government here in Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood is facing more political attacks than ever. Speaker Ryan is working to cut all federal funds from Planned Parenthood, even though federal law already prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions. Governor Walker has frequently boasted about removing all state funding for Planned Parenthood in 2011.


Unfortunately, Speaker Ryan's and Governor Walker's political rhetoric and priorities come at the expense of thousands of Wisconsinites who rely on Planned Parenthood for needed health care. Approximately 50,000 Wisconsinites enrolled in Medicaid receive basic healthcare services from Planned Parenthood, including 6,000 folks from the 1st congressional district alone. We know firsthand in Wisconsin that removing healthcare services from so many would result in many, many individuals simply going without necessary care.


In late January, I joined Democratic colleagues from both houses in calling on Speaker Ryan and Governor Walker to put their constituents' needs ahead of their partisan politics. You can view each letter by clicking HERE and HERE. Neither the Speaker nor the Governor have yet responded, but I remain hopeful the actions being taken by the thousands of Wisconsinites asking them to leave Planned Parenthood alone will ultimately be recognized and respected.


Rep. Ohnstad joins colleagues in calling on Gov. Walker to oppose Muslim ban

I joined with several of my legislative colleagues in signing onto a letter asking Governor Walker to denounce President Trump's executive order banning refugees from entering the United States as well as travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The letter also requested that Governor Walker vow to protect the refugees who have already resettled in Wisconsin from persecution. You can view the letter HERE.


I wanted to make it clear that even though President Trump attempted to sow seeds of discord, constitutional guarantees are afforded to everyone and should be respected by all, including Governor Walker.


Rep. Ohnstad and Sen. Bob Wirch and others march against President Trump's unconstitutional Muslim Ban (Photo credit: Karen Kempinen)


Thus far, Governor Walker has not responded to this letter, nor has he stated any opposition to the ban. Just last night, however, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the ban is unconstitutional and refused to allow the Trump Administration to carry it out.



If you would like to have your name removed from this email list, please reply to this message with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line