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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

I hope you are staying safe and warm in what has been a cold and snowy winter. As a reminder, if you or someone you know needs energy assistance, visit KeepWarmMKE.org for resources. Additionally, rent assistance is available to eligible applicants through the Community Advocates Rent Assistance program. More information about the program and how to apply is available here

On February 16, Governor Evers gave his second budget address. Following the address, the Joint Finance Committee officially introduced the budget to the Legislature. I am excited to see the governor make major investments in the things our community members care about, like health care access. This month's newsletter will recap some of the provisions included in the governor's 2021-2023 budget, as well as provide information about the budget process. 

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

Sincerely, 

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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator

 

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Daylight Saving Time Coming to an End

On March 14 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time ends. Remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed and enjoy an extra hour of sunlight!

 

 

 

 

2021-2023 Proposed
State Budget:


As our state and country continues to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I do not underestimate the challenges that our communities will continue to face. I know Wisconsinites have spent sleepless nights worrying about their children's education, the affordability of child care, and how to feed themselves and their families. 

While these issues existed long before the onset of the pandemic due to years of disinvestment by Wisconsin Legislative Republicans, the pandemic has amplified the deep cracks they created within the foundation of our state's infrastructure. 

Sadly, these cracks have disproportionately impacted communities of color. Currently, Wisconsin is ranked the worst place in America to raise a Black child. It is no wonder we are considered the worst, as Black Wisconsinites are three times more likely to die from COVID because of the discrimination they have historically experienced when attempting to access health care, housing, and adequate nutrition. All of which are needed to create strong, healthy communities that are able to fight off the virus. 

Overcoming these structural inequities requires structural changes that repair the cracks in the foundation that we all depend on. Governor Tony Evers' 2021-2023 proposed budget is a starting point for making that happen, as it invests in our state’s children and families, using common sense solutions that promote equity and justice for all. 

I am particularly happy to see that the budget continues and builds upon a program that addresses the quality, affordability, and access to child care with a $140 million investment.  All of our children, regardless of their zip code, deserve the opportunity to thrive, and this budget 'connects the dots' by ensuring families have access to high-quality childcare so more people can remain in the workforce. 

The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the critical importance of our public schools and the impact they have on our communities. An investment into our kids is an investment into our future. That is why I am encouraged to see that the governor's proposed budget includes a substantial investment to fully fund our public schools and make them whole.  

Moreover, the Governor's proposed budget takes bold action to address health care disparities and outcomes, particularly for communities of color who face systemic racism. I am happy to see that the governor's proposed budget includes a $25 million investment to address determinants of health like housing, nutrition, and transportation. While also allocating over $30 million to promote community-based health equity initiatives, which has been shown to improve health outcomes for communities of color. 

While the road to recovering from the pandemic is long, I know that we will be able to bounce back stronger than before with these critical investments into our state's infrastructure, and by tackling the structural inequalities that disproportionately harm Black Wisconsinites. Governor Tony Evers' 2021-2023 proposed budget is a blueprint for a Wisconsin we can all be proud of and thrive in. 

You can read a summary of all the major budget provisions here. More information about the state budget process is available here

In the District

Updates on what's happening locally in our community can be found in this section. I'll also include updates on resources, information, and COVID-19 assistance programs.




COVID-19 Town Hall & Mental Health Round Table
On February 15, 2021, I along with members of the  Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus, held a COVID-19 town hall featuring a panel of health care experts who explored how racial health care disparities have impacted communities of color during COVID-19, as well as the importance of the COVID-19 vaccination. If you were unable to join the town hall, a recording of the panel discussion is available here.

In addition to the COVID-19 town hall, myself and other members of the  Wisconsin Black Legislative Caucus hosted a panel discussion with health experts to explore the mental health concerns within communities of color, as well as the increase in incidents of domestic violence and homicide during COVID-19. A recording of the panel discussion is available here.

Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council 
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 Wisconsin Agriculture Youth Council. DATCP will accept applications through March 31, 2021.  The purpose of the Youth Council is to encourage young people to engage with state government and increase their awareness of DATCP's interactions with Wisconsin's agriculture industry. For more information and how to apply, visit AgYouthCouncil.wi.gov.

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. I'll also share articles that I am quoted in when speaking to members of the media about the values of our community.

 

How the 2021-2023 Proposed State Budget Could Impact the Juvenile Justice System
As a member of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, I had the opportunity to discuss some of the proposals included in Governor Evers’ 2021-2023 budget with WISN 12. One topic discussed in the interview was a provision to move some 17-year-olds back into the juvenile system from adult corrections. I believe this change is necessary as children in the juvenile system have access to more programming and educational opportunities, which has been shown to decrease rates of recidivism. To watch the full interview, click here


Educators & Child Care Workers Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine
As of March 1,  all educators, education support staff, and child care workers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. I am happy to see that Milwaukee had enough supply to support this initiative. To learn more, click here. Additionally, more information about who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is available here.

Wisconsin Legislature Failed to Pass Resolution Honoring Black History Month
With Black History Month behind us, I am sad to report that my colleagues in the Wisconsin Legislature failed to pass a resolution to honor Black History Month this year. This failure is the result of white Republican leaders who sought to make changes to the Black Caucus’s resolution before allowing the measure to be put on the Assembly's calendar. To learn more, click here.

How Milwaukee Stepped in to Help Texas
“After a winter storm in Texas knocked out electricity and left people without food or water, groups and individuals across Milwaukee sprang into action.” I am proud of our community for stepping up to assist Texans impacted by the power outage, and extend my deepest gratitude to those who helped to organize this initiative. To learn more, click here.  

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!