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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

The weather is cooling down, and autumn has officially arrived. In addition to the first day of fall, we recently celebrated National Voter Registration Day. 

National Voter Registration Day served as a reminder to make sure you are registered to vote and have other information needed to take part in our democracy. With 'early voting' currently underway in Milwaukee, and the photo ID law in effect, I wanted to make sure our community is equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to make it to the polls. Keep reading for more information. 

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. 


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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator












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Cost Assistance

The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) is a great resource for heating assistance in the upcoming winter months. As the cold season draws closer, the looming costs of your future heating bill can be overwhelming. WHEAP operates through federal and state funding, providing eligible homes with help towards the cost of heating through a variety of programs, including one-time payment assistance, crisis assistance if you have no heat as well as furnace repair assistance. 

For more information about the Wisconsin Home Energy Assitance Program, including eligibility guidelines and how to apply, click here.


Wisconsin Voting Information


Each and every eligible voter has a right to vote for the candidate of their choice. Unfortunately, due to policies supported by Governor Walker and passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, our communities have had their right to vote suppressed. 

While blocked by the courts for several years, the law requiring a photo ID for voting was in effect for the 2016 presidential election. A study done after the election showed that as many as 23,000 individuals were deterred from voting because of the law. The study also found that the ID law disproportionately affected African-Americans and low-income citizens. Considering 23% of citizens over 65 years old; 55% of African American men; 49% of African American women; 46% of Hispanic men; and 59% of Hispanic women lack state-issued photo identification this is extremely alarming but unfortunately not surprising. 

While the governor has wrongfully touted the need for the ID law as a way to prevent voter fraud, the facts are clear that widespread voter fraud simply isn’t occurring in Wisconsin. 

Gladys Harris of Milwaukee lost her driver license days before the 2016 presidential election. Gladys knew about Wisconsin’s photo ID law, so she brought her social security and Medicare cards along with a county-issued bus pass that had her photo. None of that was good enough to comply with the law, so she was unable to vote. When we hear stories like this, we should all be concerned about fairness and openness in our democracy.

I believe our state should be promoting policies that move us towards increasing voter engagement and accessibility. In the meantime, however, it is up to all of us to ensure we are engaged and aware of the voting rules in Wisconsin so that all eligible voters are able to take part in our democracy. 


Who Can Vote in Wisconsin?
In order to be eligible to vote in Wisconsin, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age. All voters in Wisconsin must be at least 18 years of age on the day of the election to be eligible to vote. If you are 17 years of age, are otherwise eligible to vote, and will be 18 by the next election, you may register to vote.
  • Be a U.S. citizen in order to vote. Citizenship is documented through a U.S. birth certificate or a Certificate of Naturalization, but proof of citizenship is not required to vote. Green card or visa status does not qualify a person to vote in Wisconsin elections.
  • Reside at your current address for at least 10 days prior to the election. You may register to vote as long as you will meet the 10-day requirement by the day of the election. If you have moved to a new address within Wisconsin within 10 days of an election, you may be qualified to vote from your former address until you meet the 10-day requirement at your new address. If you have moved to Wisconsin from another state less than 10 days before an election, you are only eligible to vote for President and Vice-President in Wisconsin until you achieve the 10 days. 

Other eligibility considerations:

  • You cannot vote if you are serving a felony sentence. If you are currently serving any portion of a felony sentence, including probation or supervision (being 'on paper'), you are not eligible to vote in Wisconsin. Once a felony sentence is complete, the right to vote is reinstated, but the person will need to re-register.
  • You cannot vote if you’ve been adjudicated incompetent. If a judge has specifically determined you to be incompetent to vote, you are not eligible to vote in Wisconsin. If you have been adjudicated incompetent, but not specifically incompetent to vote, then you are still eligible to vote.
  • You are not eligible to vote if you have placed a bet or a wager on the outcome of the election.
  • You can only vote once. Each voter is eligible to vote only once in any given election.

When Does Voting Begin in Milwaukee for the 2018 Midterm Elections?
You can vote in the General Election by finding your polling location on Election Day (Tuesday, November 6), requesting an absentee ballot be sent to you, or by voting early in-person. If you choose to vote early and live in the city of Milwaukee, click here for a list of voting locations. You will also be able to register at these locations, with the exception of November 3 and 4. 

What Should I know about 'Voting Early'?
Early voting (otherwise known as in-person absentee voting) is currently underway in the city of Milwaukee where five additional early voting sites across the city were recently announced— three in libraries, and the other two at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Click here for a full list of early voting locations, hours of operation, and other important early voting information. 

Whether you vote early in-person or vote on Election Day, you will need to be registered to vote as well as bring an acceptable photo ID. Keep in mind, t
he address on your photo ID does not need to be current for photo ID purposes. Also, out-of-state driver licenses are not acceptable. 

What Do I Need to Know about Registering to Vote in Wisconsin?
If it is your first time voting or you have changed your name or address you will need to register to vote. Eligible voters with a current and valid Wisconsin Driver License or Wisconsin State ID Card can register to vote online up to 20 days before the election. You can also register by mail or at your municipal clerk's office. Remember, you can also register to vote at your polling place on Election Day. To find your polling location, go to MyVote.WI.Gov.

In order to register to vote, you must provide Proof of Residence. Keep in mind you must have lived at your residence for at least 10 days by Election Day. Some examples of acceptable documents to show Proof of Residence include a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, lease, tax bill, or document issued to you by a unit of government. You may show a paper copy or a digital version of your proof of residence document. For more information about the voter registration process, including more examples of what counts as Proof of Residence, click here. 

If you have not voted for a while, you may want to confirm your voter registration status by reviewing your record at the MyVote.WI.Gov. Select “My Voter Info” and enter your name and birthdate to review your registration record.

What Should I Know about the Photo ID requirement?
First, it is important to note that there is not a separate 'Voter ID' card. There are several forms of Photo IDs that can be used for voting. If you have a valid Wisconsin Driver License or a Wisconsin State ID card, you already have what you need for Photo ID purposes. A Wisconsin Driver License can be used if it is unexpired or expired after November 8, 2016 (date after the last General Election). Your Wisconsin Driver License DOES NOT have to have your current address on it. However, if you need to register to vote at your address, you will need Proof of Residence documentation as described above. 

Other Photo IDs that are acceptable for voting include:

  • A Military ID card issued by the U.S. Uniformed Services
  • A U.S. passport book or card
  • A certificate of naturalization (that was issued no earlier than two years before the date of the election)
  • An identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin
  • A driver license receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT (valid for 45 days from the date issued)
  • An identification card receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT (valid for 45 days from the date issued)
  • A Wisconsin DMV ID Petition Process Photo Receipt (valid for 180 days from the date issued)
  • A Veteran Affairs ID card (must be unexpired or have no expiration date
  • A photo identification card issued by a Wisconsin accredited university or college, or technical college that
    contains the following: date the card was issued, the signature of the student, expiration date no later than two years after the date of issuance. The university or college ID must be accompanied by a separate document that proves enrollment, such as a tuition fee receipt, enrollment verification letter, or class schedule. 

If you do not have a birth certificate, click here for information on how to get a free State ID card that can be used for voting. 

For more information about obtaining a Wisconsin Driver License or if you have questions about a specific form of photo ID, click here. 

If you or someone you know needs special voting accommodations, such as if they are elderly or have a disability, click here for information. 

Protecting and Strengthening our Democracy
In order to bring Wisconsin back to our progressive roots, we must ensure that we are increasing access to the polls rather than suppressing it. This requires repealing restrictive photo ID laws for voting and promoting public policies like the Strengthening Democracy Act -- a bill I proudly co-sponsored last legislative session.

The Strengthening Democracy Act would set up an automatic voter registration system by using information already obtained by our Department of Transportation. Integrating our DOT records with our voter registration system would provide for a modern and secure approach to registering eligible voters. 

Wisconsin leaders must listen to the voices and needs of our community members and be champions for open, fair, and free elections. 

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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. 


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6th Senate District High School Juniors and Seniors Can Apply for the Senate Scholar Program
The Wisconsin State Senate offers a unique educational experience to high school juniors and seniors. One student from each of the 33 Senate Districts may participate in the week-long program in Madison.

The Senate Scholar Program has created an advanced government curriculum that includes classroom instruction, roundtable discussion sections, and a lab component. The first part of the week the Scholars spend several days in a classroom setting. Experts teach Scholars about constituent relations, research and development of legislation, and bill drafting. Scholars engage in roundtable discussions with legislative support agency directors and staff, media, and lobbyists throughout the week resulting in further insight into all facets of the legislative process.

The remainder of the week Scholars put their knowledge into action. Scholars staff the Senate floor during an actual legislative session and witness the Senate debate on legislation. Scholars will also draft their own bills and amendments, form their own mock committee, and elect committee leadership. Finally, the lab component culminates in Friday’s committee hearing that includes testimony from experts and members of the public. Although the daytime curriculum is rigorous, fun evening activities are planned for each group of Senate Scholars.

Applications will need to be received no later than November 21, 2018. A digital copy of the application and more information can be found, here.

Discussing the Importance of Trauma-Informed Care
In September, I was honored to be asked to meet with members of the Milwaukee County Child Abuse Prevention Coalition to discuss child abuse prevention and my work to strengthen children and families in our state.   


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. 


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Child Care Tax Credit
Wisconsin has many great child care providers who offer exceptional services to families in our community. As a former child care provider myself, I have seen first-hand the positive impact having a safe, quality place for children to thrive can have on a child’s life and on a parent’s ability to work. But Wisconsin families are facing a huge crisis with child care costs soaring.

I offered my thoughts on the costs of child care in Wisconsin a recent Democratic Radio Address. To listen to the full radio address, click here!


New Child-Safety Guidelines Announced 
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new child-safety guidelines pertaining to car seats.

In order to ensure maximum safety, the guidelines recommend that children ride in rear-facing car seats until they reach the height or weight limit for the seat, which can be found in the instruction manual.

Proper car seat usage can lower the risk of death or serious injury by more than 70 percent.

Governor Walker's False Claim on Pre-existing Conditions 
Thank you to my colleague Senator Mark Miller for highlighting the importance of protecting our friends and family members with pre-existing conditions and for addressing actions taken by Republicans in Wisconsin to strip away these critical protections.  

Wisconsin State Budget Update
Conversations regarding the next state budget are already underway as state agencies submit their budget requests. Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling offered some initial thoughts on this topic recently in a press release.

Conservative Blogger Makes Appalling Remark About MPS Students
I was completely appalled by a recent RightWisconsin article in which MPS students are referred to as 'little convicts.' I joined MPS and other state lawmakers in criticizing his remarks as offensive and ignorant. The language chosen by the blogger was disrespectful to the 77,000 children within MPS and their families. 

Honored to Receive a 'Friend of Family Medicine' Award 
I was recently named as a 2017-18 'Friend of Family Medicine' by the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians -- an award presented to an exclusive group of state legislators in recognition of their efforts to advance effective health care policy and promote the importance of family medicine in the health care delivery system.

By working closely with lawmakers, the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians works to improve the health of Wisconsin families, and I am proud to be committed towards a common goal of ensuring high quality, affordable health care for Wisconsinites.


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!