State Capitol Report


July 13, 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


Kenosha Pride March

When: Sunday, July 16 at 1pm

Where: Parade will organize at Library Park, in downtown Kenosha, stepping off at 12pm. It will conclude at Veteran’s Memorial Park on 54th street and 5th avenue, where Kenosha Pride Fest begins at 1pm.

What: Celebration of Kenosha's LGBTQ community, including a parade, a fair with family friendly activities, and live music


Tribute Island Music Festival

When: Saturday, July 22 - Sunday, July 23

Where: Simmons Island

What: This first-ever event will feature 25 of the best tribute acts in the country performing the classic sounds of Journey, Led Zeppelin, Chicago, Pink Floyd, Kiss and more.


Kenosha AMC Homecoming Car Show

When: Tuesday, July 25 - Sunday, July 30

Where: Kennedy Park, 4051 Fifth Ave, Kenosha

What: Join the Kenosha History Center at various locations throughout Kenosha and Racine for car shows, an ice cream social, a car parade, a night time car show in Downtown Kenosha and the big car show rounding out the 5 days of events on Saturday.


Taste of Wisconsin

When: Friday, July 28th from 3-11pm, Saturday, July 29th from 11am-11pm, Sunday, July 30th from 11am-7pm

Where: Downtown Kenosha lakeshore (click HERE for directions and a map)


9th Annual Mike "FEC" Fechner Memorial Pig Roast

When: Saturday, July 29 from 12pm-6pm

Where: Kenosha Moose Family Center 286, 3003 30th Avenue, Kenosha

What: Featuring silent auctions, raffles, live music, hula hoop contest, family entertainment, food & refreshments, corn roast.

Cost: $10 in advance for adults. Children 6yrs-10yrs are $5. Children 5 years and under are FREE.

**Tickets available at 5523 6th Avenue


Pike River Rendezvous

When: Saturday, August 5 from 9am-5pm; Sunday, August 6 from 9am-4pm

Where: Simmons Island Park, 50th Street & 4th Avenue

What: More than 350 re-enactors in 150 camps will be encamped on Simmons Island. Talk with them about what life was like during the fur-trading era. See craft and trades demonstrations throughout the camp.

Cost: FREE


The Summer of '69

When: Thursday, August 10th from 5:30-8pm

Where: Cortese's Supper Club, 1300 Sheridan Rd, Kenosha

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Tickets: Call KAFASI at 262-658-0237, stop by 7730 Sheridan Rd., or visit


July is Military Consumer Protection Month


Wisconsin has a number of resources available to help members of the military and military family members avoid scams and deal with frustrating consumer issues. These are available whether you are in the country or deployed.


The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has a lot of relevant information on the DATCP website, such as fact sheets on a wide range of consumer issues like home improvement, job scams, false advertising, and landlord/tenant rights, and a dedicated Consumer Protection Hotline, which is available weekdays from 7:45am to 4:30pm to answer questions and guide callers toward references that can help with their issue. The Consumer Protection Hotline can be reached at 800-422-7128 or  Also, all fact sheets are also available en español.


Additionally, military families face unique challenges that could put you at risk of identity theft. DATCP's Consumer Protection Bureau has specialists who focus on helping Wisconsin identity theft
victims mitigate the potential damage to their credit and reputations that can result from this crime. If you believe you may have had your identity misused, you can start the process by visiting the identity theft protection section of the DATCP website or by contacting the Consumer Protection Hotline.


Local Resource: Kenosha Forgotten Friends

Kenosha Forgotten Friends is a local no-kill animal shelter and rescue which gives abandoned and sick companion animals a second chance for a better life. Kenosha Forgotten Friends' "rescues" are held in foster homes by volunteers who have opened their hearts and homes to help them have their chance at a Forever Home.


This summer, Kenosha Forgotten Friends will be hosting Paws for the Cause, a fundraiser to help fund their shelter and rescue efforts. It will take place on Sunday, August 27th from 1-6pm at the Kemper Center, located at 6501 3rd Avenue. Tickets are $10. Also, $5 unlimited beer tickers are available. The event will feature food catered by DeRango's, live entertainment, silent auction, raffles, feline frenzy bags tourney, canine cork pull, bake sale, personalized pet memorials and gifts, and guest speaker Dr. Carlisle.


Kenosha Forgotten Friends can be found online or on Facebook. Or, you can reach them by phone at 262-909-9764.


2017 Church Festivals


Mount Carmel Parish Festival
When: Friday, July 14-Sunday, July 16

Where: Columbus Park, 2003 54th Street

St. Therese Parish Festival
When: Friday, July 21-Sunday, July 23

Where: 2020 91st Street

St. Mary's Parish Festival
When: Saturday, July 29-Sunday, July 30

Where: 7307 40th Ave

St. Peter's Family Festival
When: Friday, August 4-Sunday, August 6

Where: 2224 30th Ave

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Festival
When: Friday, August 11-Sunday, August 13

Where: 2224 45th Street


St. Elizabeth Parish Festival

When: Saturday, September 9-Sunday, September 10

Where: 4816 7th Avenue


Inspiring Words


"Don't be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with the wind."


- Hamilton Wright Mabie





Friends and Neighbors,


Well, another month has come and gone. Wisconsin was supposed to have a new state budget signed into law by the first of July. But state Republican leaders have halted budget deliberations for the foreseeable future.


While state Republican leaders continue to fight behind closed doors, I am continuing to dedicate my time to staying connected with the people of Kenosha and keeping you updated about some important happenings in the Capitol and noteworthy events and resources in Kenosha. In this State Capitol Report, you will find a list of upcoming events, an update about 'dark store' legislation, two grant opportunities through the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, and more.


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


State Budget Standoff Continues

Budget is now 13 days overdue

As of today, the state budget is officially THIRTEEN days overdue. Governor Walker and legislative Republicans are still fighting amongst themselves about whether they are going to cut road funding or school funding. And while they continue with their infighting, Wisconsin's communities, schools, families, and taxpayers are holding their breath to see what will happen.


Local governments are waiting on Gov. Walker and Republicans in Madison to pass a budget so they can keep projects on track. Wisconsin schools need a budget that works for them, not more cuts and funding delays.


It appears they are engaged in a game of chicken, in which they are keeping our local schools, governments, and taxpayers in the dark and unable to plan appropriately for the future. It doesn't seem like this stalemate has any meaningful resolution in sight, so this political dysfunction will unfortunately continue.


Rep. Ohnstad Supports "BadgerCare for All"

Proposal would ensure health insurance option available for all Wisconsinites

As House and Senate Republicans in Washington, D.C. appear to be competing with one another for who can kick more Americans off of their healthcare, I am proud to be one of several legislative Democrats in Wisconsin working to ensure all Wisconsinites have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.


Our "BadgerCare for All" proposal will require the Wisconsin DHS to request a waiver from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to allow individuals and small businesses to purchase BadgerCare coverage on the health insurance exchange. The bill also requires DHS to request individuals receiving health insurance through a BadgerCare buy-in program have access to the same premium supports available to those who purchase private insurance on the exchange.


I believe all Wisconsinites deserve access to high quality, affordable health insurance. BadgerCare is a trusted, bipartisan plan that works in every community, covering hundreds of thousands of people across the state. This bill is simple. It will give Wisconsinites access to the kind of health insurance they need.


'Dark Store' bills receive public hearing

Rep. Ohnstad and Kenosha City Assessor Pete Krystowiak discuss

'Dark Store' legislation before Assembly Ways & Means Public Hearing


You have most likely heard or seen something about some bills currently being considered in Madison about something called 'dark stores.' The 'dark store' issue focuses on a tax loophole being used by Big Box retailers and other national chains to lower the amount they pay in property taxes. They argue that when the government assesses the market value of their store for tax purposes, it should be based on the sales of similar size “comparable” properties that are vacant and abandoned.


Why is this important for our community? Well, the more this 'dark store' strategy is used, the greater the amount of tax burden is shifted away from big box retailers and toward local homeowners. The only two possibilities are a huge tax shift or a huge cut in services.


I am a proud cosponsor of bipartisan legislation which would close this 'dark store' loophole here in Wisconsin. I was so pleased to see Kenosha's City Assessor Pete Krystowiak came up to Madison to testify in support of the bills when they received a public hearing in the Ways & Means Committee. I think hearing from local leaders about how important this issue is for local homeowners really made it clear in that hearing just how imperative it is to pass these bills.


We haven't received word yet of when the bills will be voted on in Committee, but you can be assured I will vote for the bills and against letting big box stores shift their tax obligations onto the shoulders of Kenosha homeowners.


If this strategy becomes successful in Wisconsin it could result in a shift of millions of dollars in tax burden across Wisconsin unless the loop hole is closed by the Legislature.


Rep. Ohnstad Asks Gov. Walker to Reject Trump Commission Request for Wisconsin Voters' Personal Information

You may recall in recent weeks the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity requested Wisconsin voters’ confidential information including voters’ dates of birth, partial Social Security Numbers, and partisan political preference. Gov. Walker has responded to this with concerning non-answers, rather than rejecting this big brother request from the federal government outright.


In hopes of persuading Gov. Walker to protect Wisconsinites' personal information, I joined several Democratic colleagues in the Assembly in sending a letter to Governor Walker, asking him to reject President Trump’s voter suppression commission’s request that Wisconsin hand over the personal information of Wisconsin voters such as dates of birth, partial Social Security Numbers, and partisan political preference to the federal government.


Wisconsin Board for People With Developmental Disabilities Offers Grant Opportunities

The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) helps people with developmental disabilities from all across Wisconsin become independent, productive, and included in all facets of community life. One of the ways they do so is by sponsoring grant opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.


Currently, the BPDD is accepting applications for Partners in Policymaking, a leadership program for self-advocates, siblings, and parents of children birth to 21. It will meet six times in the coming year from Friday at noon to Saturday afternoon in Madison. Participants will learn about all the public programs people with disabilities use, and how to impact programs and policies to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families statewide. All costs of the training, overnights, and meals are provided through BPDD funding. Participants must commit to the Core Values of community inclusion and integration listed in the application, and commit to participate in all 6 weekends. Applications are due September 1, 2017.


BPDD is also accepting applications for SPARKS mini-grants of $500 to $3,000, which are designed to help community groups of people with disabilities and family members make a change in their community. People with disabilities must be at the center of the project and participate at all levels. This year’s SPARKS mini-grants have a priority on transportation ideas/strategies. Priority will be given to under-served and under-represented groups. The mini-grant also includes a full day of support and technical assistance (Sept. 27, 2017) and ongoing support during the year of the grant. Applications are available online HERE and are due by July 31, 2017.


ICYMI: Volunteers needed to drive cancer patients to appointments

The Kenosha News this week published this article detailing the need for volunteers for its Road to Recovery program, which connects cancer patients with drivers who can take them to appointments. According to the article, they have only 10 volunteer drivers in the Kenosha/Racine area.


Road to Recovery drivers can volunteer as often or as little as they want, offering patients rides a couple of days a week or even one day a month. Some appointments are brief, but some take all day.


Drivers can indicate which hours, days and distances they are willing to drive, and then get alerts about patients who fit those parameters. Drivers who are not comfortable using an online system can check in with a volunteer coordinator over the phone.


If you would like to volunteer as a Road to Recovery driver, you can contact the American Cancer Society at or 800-227-2345. Patients who need rides are encouraged to call 800-227-2345.



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