LaTonya's Legislative Updates Final Border.png 

Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

I am wishing you a happy and healthy 2020, and am honored to spend another year as your state senator. 2019 was a busy year with a new Wisconsin governor, my first state budget as a member of the Joint Finance Committee, and doing door-to-door outreach to hear directly from you and our neighbors.

One of the things that I've heard from community members is a need for more resources to stay up-to-date on what's happening in the State Capitol. This month's feature article will get you started on how to stay updated on the issues that you care about. We will also take a look back at some of the things my office accomplished in 2019!


As always, please let my office know what issues are important to you! 


Sincerely, 

LJohnson sig.bmp
LaTonya Johnson
State Senator

 

Contents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip of the Month 2.png (1)
This Year, Prioritize Oral Health Care


With a new year upon us, many of us are thinking of ways to be healthier. Oral health is an important component of overall health. The Wisconsin Dental Association has tips for a healthy smile and good oral hygiene, such as treating flossing as important as brushing.


Click here for more oral hygiene tips.

 

Tips for Being an Informed and Engaged Community Member
AB41 Testify 032719-14.jpg 

Happy New Year! Over the past year, I have had many conversations with friends and neighbors about how to stay engaged and informed. As we look ahead to the upcoming year, let us all recommit to staying up-to-date on local and state happenings. In order to have a successful democracy, we must each do our part by keeping informed about government affairs as well as communicating thoughts and opinions to elected officials. 

Getting Started: Government 101 
Many people may not realize that being an active participant in state government is actually quite easy. From contacting your state representatives about a topic you care about to testifying at a public hearing on a bill that you support or oppose, there are many different ways that community members can become involved. It all starts with knowing the basics about the legislative process. For a comprehensive overview of how a bill becomes a law, click here. 

Additionally, the nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Council has a publication called 'A Citizen's Guide to Participation in the Wisconsin State Legislature' that provides a simple but thorough explanation of our state government's policies and procedures. It is broken down into several different sections, click below for more information on each topic:


How to Follow Topics of Interest to You
The way that we get and consume news has greatly evolved over time, which may make seeking out information on the issues that you care about seem overwhelming. 

The Wisconsin State Legislature offers a free email notification system that alerts subscribers of legislative activities relating to issues they have identified as important. This is an excellent way to keep informed about the issues that are important to you. Through this service, you can sign up to receive email notifications about specific bills, keywords, or legislative committees, depending on your interest. Click here to sign up.

For general information about what's going on in the Capitol, there are several options available for individuals to get the latest political news. Here are three great news outlets to get you started:

  • WisconsinEye - If you can't make it to Madison for a public hearing on a bill you care about, there's a chance that it will be streamed live on WisconsinEye. Check out their schedule for their live stream, here. Not only do they stream session days and major committee meetings, they also have special programming such as a weekly review. The Rewind: Your Week in Review program runs every Friday, and features WisconsinEye senior producer Steve Walters and WisPolitics.com editor JR Ross where they break down the latest news in Wisconsin state politics. They also have a program called Capitol Roundtable where members of the Wisconsin Capitol press corps discuss major issues and events impacting state policy.

  • The Wheeler Report - Updated regularly throughout the day, The Wheeler Report is a catalog of all of the major news happening in the Wisconsin State Legislature. Press releases from legislators and other public officials and stakeholder groups can be found on the home page along with articles from news outlets from across the state. The daily list of articles and releases is broken down by issue area (such as the 'economy' or the 'governor's administration'), making it easy to determine the trending issues of the day. Note: some advanced services are only available to subscribers for a fee. 

  • WisPolitics.com - Similar to The Wheeler Report, Wispolitics.com covers much of the day-to-day happenings of the Wisconsin Legislature. It issues hourly updates on daily events, political press releases, and political news. Note: some advanced services are only available to subscribers for a fee


Staying Up-to-Date Through Social Media, Email, and Community Events 

I often post breaking news on my Facebook and Twitter accounts and cover issues in more detail via this newsletter. This is one of the easiest ways to stay current on the issues that matter to you. I also host a bi-annual community engagement event called EMPOWER-MKE. I started EMPOWER-MKE as a way to engage our neighbors in meaningful dialogue and to create a platform for each of us to learn from one another. Keep an eye out for an upcoming event by visiting www.EMPOWERMKE.com.

Senate and Assembly Democrats also provide a weekly update to help keep Wisconsin citizens informed about activity happening at the State Capitol and stay updated on how your elected officials are voting on important issues in Madison. Each month, I include the most recent versions of the Wisconsin Democrats weekly updates in the 'Under the Dome' section below, but you can also sign up to receive them directly to your inbox each week! Governor Evers, as well as many Wisconsin state agencies and legislative support agencies, also have social media pages you can follow for updates. 

Voting Information 

One of the cornerstone elements of participating in our democracy is the right to vote. Recently, a court ruling demanded that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites be removed from our state's voter registration list. 

This means all eligible voters should make sure they are registered to vote at their current address. Additionally, knowing where your polling place is and making sure you have the correct photo ID requirements in order to cast a vote are critical to ensure you can take part in our democracy! 

 

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. 

 

2019 District Volunteer Days.png 

2019 Lookback!
It has been a privilege to serve the 6th Senate District, and I was grateful to have spent time getting to know my neighbors better throughout this past year. I was also thankful to visit many amazing organizations and churches in our community. From volunteer days to our summer outreach program and opening a new district office, 2019 was a busy year. Here's a snapshot of the past year:

  • Johnson Office Volunteer Days! 
    This year, my office started doing regular volunteer days with organizations throughout the community. I am inspired to see and be part of all of the great work happening around the 6th Senate District. My staff and I spent time at Next Door Milwaukee volunteering with the Read With Me program, had a blast gardening at Groundwork, assisted building a Habitat for Humanity house,  helped put together over 880 Stockboxes at Hunger Task Force, and organized and cleaned the facilities at Neighborhood House. Thank you to all of these organizations for allowing us to have an inside look at your day-to-day operations.  

  • Summer Outreach in the 6th Senate District
    This summer and fall, my office and I went door-to-door to talk to community members about the issues and concerns that matter most to them. We spent the majority of our time talking with people in the 53206 neighborhood, as well as Riverwest and other areas in the district and knocked on about 6,000 doors. Reckless driving, public safety, vacant homes, potholes and access to quality child care were some of the major things we heard about while out in the community. Of course, there is no one solution to fixing all of the concerns that were shared. However, I have been working tirelessly to do what I can at the state level to improve the everyday lives of our loved ones and neighbors. For instance, I have introduced legislation to combat reckless driving, supported Governor Tony Evers' state budget that would have put more money into fixing our local roads, and advocated for an investment in quality child care in the 53206 neighborhood. Our office also reached out to local branches of government to bring attention to things we heard from our neighbors, such as streetlights being out and requests for speed bumps on busy streets. 

  • EMPOWER-MKE Citizen Engagement Events
    I hosted two EMPOWER-MKE events in 2019, focusing on areas that community members said were of interest to them. In January, a wide range of stakeholders and experts came to talk to individuals about affordable housing and related issues. In September, we held the first of a two-part series on navigating the criminal justice system. Stay tuned for more information about our next event in the series. 

  • Visiting Churches in the 6th Senate District 
    This year, I was honored to visit over 20 churches around the community. I appreciate being welcomed to worship with so many of my neighbors. I look forward to seeing many more of you at your places of worship throughout 2020.
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. 

 

Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling Sets 2020 Vision
Recently, Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling shared her vision for Wisconsin in 2020, during the weekly Democratic Radio Address“Democrats want to tackle the tough issues, strengthen communities, and create a level playing field where everyone who works hard can get ahead. With 2019 behind us, I hope that we can set aside political differences, work together and focus on a brighter and better tomorrow." - Senator Jennifer Shilling. 

 

Wisconsin gets $10 Million for Early Childhood Education
Wisconsin was recently awarded $10 million from the Preschool Development Birth to Five Grant to strengthen and invest in our early childhood system. "The first years of a kid’s life set the tone for their future success. Right now, many families struggle to find affordable and reliable care for their kids before they reach school age. This grant provides us with an opportunity to clear some of those hurdles, and to connect the dots for our kids and their families." - Governor Tony Evers 

 

Republican Joint Finance Members Failed to Release Critical Funds to Address Homelessness
Recently, I met for a Joint Finance Committee meeting called by Governor Tony Evers to address homelessness in Wisconsin. There are thousands of homeless individuals in our state, including 19,000 schoolchildren lacking adequate homes. Unfortunately, GOP members decided not to show up to release these vital funds. See a press release from Democratic members of the Joint Finance Committee on this issue.

 

Earn Extra Money by being a Census Taker
Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for conducting the nationwide census. While the next census will be taken in 2020, the Census Bureau is already recruiting to fill temporary positions as a Census Taker. As a Census Taker, you will get paid to help your community. #2020CensusJobs are temporary, provide extra income and weekly pay, have flexible hours and even your training is paid. Apply online here. 

 

 

Wisconsin Democrats:
Under the Dome Update

Senate and Assembly Democrats provide a weekly update to help keep Wisconsin citizens informed about activity happening at the State Capitol and stay updated on how your elected officials are voting on important issues in Madison. Click on the links below to view recent editions of 'Under the Dome.'

 

Capitol Update Logo.png

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 Evers.....................................................608-266-1212
Milwaukee Common Council...............................414-286-2221
Milwaukee County 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!