LaTonya's Legislative Updates Final Border.png 

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

I hope you are doing well! I wanted to take a moment to update you on a couple of things.

First, I wanted to be sure you saw that the 6th Senate District's next EMPOWER-MKE summit is coming up in just a few weeks! The summit will include an in-depth look at how incarceration affects families in our community. See the 'In the District' section for more info, or
click here. 

Additionally, I had my first Joint Finance Committee meeting since being appointed to the committee. Therefore, the main article this month will be a brief update on what happened during the meeting. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about state matters. 

Sincerely, 

LJohnson sig.bmp
LaTonya Johnson
State Senator

 

Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip of the Month 2.png (1)Independence Day
Grilling Safety

With the Fourth of July coming up, many of us are spending more time cooking out with family and friends. Therefore, it is important to remember that grills can be a safety hazard. In fact, July is a peak month for grill fires. To ensure the protection of you and your family, you should never leave the grill unattended. In order to protect both children and pets, it is recommended to establish a 3-foot “Kid Free Zone” around the grill. Remember to only use the grill outside and exercise caution if drinking alcohol while grilling.

To find more information on protecting you and your family from grill-related injuries.

Joint Finance Committee Takes up Transportation Funding

On Thursday, June 14, the Joint Finance Committee met to decide what to do with $67 million in federal transportation money. As this was my first Joint Finance Committee meeting since being appointed to the committee, I was eager to get to work. However, after looking at the details of the Walker administration's proposed plan for the federal funding, I had some immediate concerns.

Notably, the committee did not take up anything that would fix the fact that Wisconsin still has no long-term transportation funding solution. This is alarming because, over the last several state budgets, we have kicked the can further and further down the road by borrowing more and more to pay for big highway projects. This has lead to project delays and has left our local roads and bridges in disrepair. This transportation budget mismanagement has also left Wisconsin roads with some of the worst rankings in the nation. 

The second thing that I found troubling about the proposal that ultimately passed the Joint Finance Committee is the funnel of cash that continues to make its way to Foxconn. $22 million of the federal funding up for discussion is poised to go to the megahighway project (I-94 north-south) surrounding the Foxconn site. Considering we are already sending up to $90 million to Foxconn-related roads rather than fixing our crumbling infrastructure, continuing to give more and more money to this project doesn't prioritize local communities across the state.

Further, it's adding even more to a project than was initially disclosed. Community members want and deserve transparency, especially when their tax dollars are on the line. It's like when credit cards are advertised with ‘no hidden fees.’ These companies know that consumers really hate signing up for something and then finding out there are all kinds of hidden fees added in the fine print.

Likewise, the Foxconn deal – which is already way too rich in my opinion – is hitting taxpayers with more and more hidden fees beyond the $3 billion price tag initially advertised. In addition to the money that was the topic of discussion at the committee meeting, I asked what the Administration planned on doing with the $137.7 in authorized but unused bonding authority. The response further illustrated that Walker and Republicans are intentionally prioritizing Foxconn-related projects rather than our local roads and bridges. Click here to view the clip of my question at the committee meeting. Essentially, it was disclosed that the Walker Administration wants to sit on those funds in the event that the Foxconn costs come in at more than expected. It is extremely disturbing that the Administration continues to put all of their chips on Foxconn without any regard for the needs of the rest of the state.


In contrast to what was approved by the Republican-led committee, Democrats on the committee put forward a motion to make changes to where the federal money would be spent. Under our plan, the funding would have been moved away from the Foxconn site and instead go toward the State Highway Rehabilitation program where the money would have more flexibility in being used for other uncompleted local projects. 

At the end of the day, the transportation funding plan approved by Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee is yet another example of taxpayers getting hit with the hidden costs of this bad deal. The Foxconn deal keeps looking worse for taxpayers as our crumbling highways across the state continue to be neglected, costing every motorist who will pay more for car repairs caused by poor road condition. 


 

In the District

I frequently attend and host events in the 6th Senate District, tour local facilities, and visit schools in our neighborhood. Updates on what's happening locally in our community can be found in this section. I'll also include updates on listening sessions and EMPOWER-MKE events in this section in future editions. 

 

EmpowerMKEJuly.png (1) 

EMPOWER-MKE: July 17! 
Back in January, I joined elected officials and community leaders for the 6th Senate District's first EMPOWER-MKE event (read more about that event here). I received a lot of great feedback and suggestions and am excited to be hosting another EMPOWER-MKE event on July 17, 2018.

At this EMPOWER-MKE event, titled 53206: A Discussion on Incarceration and the Family, there will be a presentation by UW-Madison Professors Lawrence Berger and Mike Massoglia followed by time for questions and answers.


53206: A Discussion on Incarceration and the Family

Location: Mother Katherine Daniels Conference Center

3466 W Hampton Ave., Milwaukee, WI
Registration: 5 p.m.
Program: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Please RSVP by July 9 by calling 414.313.1241 or emailing me at Sen.Johnson@legis.wi.gov.

For more details, check out the Facebook event page and 
www.EMPOWERMKE.com. 

June Lookback 
The 6th Senate District is home to many great organizations and community members, and I appreciated meeting with just a handful of them this past month.

Here are a few of the things I've been up to:

  • Volunteering at Mission of Mercy
    Oral health care is a critical part of overall health and wellbeing for both kids and adults. The Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation hosted its 9th Mission of Mercy dental clinic in June. Mission of Mercy is two days of free dental care for both adults and children of all ages that have limited financial means or are unable to make it to a dental office. During the weekend of the event, I was able to volunteer as a 'patient ambassador' where I took patients to the sites they needed to go to in order to get services. 

  • Talking about Civic Engagement at the Youth Leadership Summit
    Earlier in June, I visited with participants of the Youth Leadership Summit hosted by IndependenceFirst.

    My colleague Rep. Evan Goyke and I spoke about the neighborhoods we represent, legislation we are working on, and how our young people can engage with state government.


  • Participating on a Discussion Panel at Camp Union 
    A couple weeks ago, I was honored to speak on a panel at Camp Union, a
    five-day camp aimed at high school students that discusses the importance of labor unions and the positive effects they have on our communities. As a former union president, I firmly believe in the importance of a strong employee voice in workplace conditions and wages and I was happy to share my own experiences with our future leaders. 

 

In the News

I'm working hard for Wisconsinites and am fighting to make our communities a better, safer place to live and raise a family. This section of 'Community Connections' will keep you up-to-date on hot topics happening locally, statewide, and nationally. Additionally, I frequently talk to residents of our community, and share your voice and values when talking to members of the media. That said, I'll share articles that I am quoted in, too. 

 

Mission of Mercy.jpg 
Celebrating Juneteenth 
On June 19, we recognize Juneteenth Day as a critical piece of our country’s heritage and as a day that honors and remembers the historic struggle for freedom for our ancestors. 
In June, I gave the Democratic Radio Address on Juneteenth, which came to be in 1865, with the formal announcement of the abolition of slavery in Galveston, Texas. When the Union Army came to Galveston to announce the surrender of the Confederate Army and the ensuing emancipation of thousands of enslaved people in Galveston, the formerly enslaved people took to the streets to rejoice.

As we pay homage to those who came before us and celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens, Juneteenth is also an important day to reflect on the challenges that remain, especially here in Wisconsin.

The unfortunate reality is that our state has been cited as ‘the worst state to raise an African American child.’ Wisconsin has some of the widest racial disparities in education and poverty, and our state incarcerates more African American males than any other state in the nation. Juneteenth is a day in which we can celebrate the victories of previous generations, as well as recognize the need to improve opportunities for future generations.

I am proud to stand with my colleagues who are committed to putting all Wisconsin families first, and believe that each and every one of us deserves the freedom to achieve the American Dream.”


Celebrating Independence Day in Milwaukee
Wednesday, July 4 marks the 242nd anniversary of our nation's independence. It is a day of celebration with family, friends, and neighbors as well as a day to remember the sacrifices made to ensure our nation's freedoms. During the Fourth of July, there are a number of celebrations all around the city. Click here to find ways to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Ending the Practice of Ripping Apart Families at the Border
Over the past several weeks, heartbreaking images and audio recordings came to light of infants, toddlers and children being separated from their parents and detained in cages at the border. This disturbing practice is a direct result of President Trump’s decision to enact a zero tolerance policy when it comes to refugee families seeking asylum. Like the majority of Americans, I believe separating infants and toddlers from their parents is immoral and un-American. The fact is, these policies are not only wrong but will cause irreversible trauma to innocent children. To worsen matters, our own governor sent Wisconsin National Guard members to participate in the border crackdown. Recently, I joined many of my Democratic colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump calling on him to put an end to his policies of splitting up families. 


Partisan Redistricting U.S. Supreme Court Decision
On June 18, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to delay a final ruling in the Gill v Whitford case, commonly referred to as the Wisconsin redistricting case or partisan gerrymandering case.

Despite the Court's decision to delay a final ruling, Wisconsin Democrats are committed to ensuring fair maps and restoring fairness to our election process. I proudly cosponsored a nonpartisan redistricting reform bill last session and will keep working with my colleagues on this critical issue.

If you want to know more about the specifics of this case and the ruling, check out this article by The New York Times.
 

 

Useful Phone Numbers

There are many levels of state and local government that can help answer questions and get you connected with resources you may need. I have listed some useful phone numbers below. You can also see a comprehensive list of numbers by clicking the link below. If you see a change needed or an important number that should be added, please let me know! 

Congresswoman Gwen Moore.............................414-297-1140
Governor Walker..................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee Country Board....................................414-278-4222
Milwaukee Police Department.............................414-933-4444
Poison Control......................................................800-222-1222
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program..............800-815-0015

Medigap Helpline.................................................800-242-1060
Consumer Protection Hotline..............................800-422-7128
Department of Health Services............................608-266-1865
Workforce Development......................................608-266-3131
Public Service Commission..................................800-225-7729
SeniorCare Wisconsin.........................................800-657-2038
WI Commissioner of Insurance Complaints.......800-236-8517


For other useful phone numbers, click here!