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Dear Friends and Neighbors, 

While going door-to-door over the last couple of months, one of the most significant things we heard from community members was concerns about public safety and criminal justice. 

As such, my next EMPOWER-MKE event is going to be held on Saturday, September 21. Entitled 'Navigating the Criminal Justice System,' this two-part series will bring in speakers who work within the criminal justice system. More details are provided below. 

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


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LaTonya Johnson
State Senator












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EMPOWER-MKE: Navigating the Criminal Justice System

In an effort to bring all stakeholders together for thoughtful discussions, I launched the 6th Senate District’s first EMPOWER-MKE event in January 2018. 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. At the event in January 2018, we kicked off this bi-annual event series with information on interacting with different levels of government in order to achieve transformational policy reforms that will have a positive impact on Milwaukee. Subsequent EMPOWER-MKE events focused on the effects of incarceration on families and communities as well as concerns with affordable housing.  

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On September 21, I am thrilled to be hosting my fourth EMPOWER-MKE event, which will be a two-part informational series about navigating our criminal justice system. State assembly members who represent our community will also be in attendance at the event. 

As stated, this EMPOWER-MKE event will be a two-part series. Part one, to be held on September 21, will focus on providing a greater understanding of the role of law enforcement in our community, and how residents can work with our local police districts to ensure safe and secure neighborhoods. Part one will also relate to giving general information on what to do if you become involved in the criminal justice system in its beginning stages.

EMPOWER-MKE: Navigating the Criminal Justice System Part 1
When: Saturday, September 21 
Registration: 8:30 a.m. | Program: 9 a.m. 
Where: Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 Vliet Street
RSVP: By September 13 at 414-313-1241 or at 

Stay tuned for more details for part two of the EMPOWER-MKE: Navigating the Criminal Justice System series, which will focus on providing information and resources to individuals who are in the criminal justice system, such as information about how the court process works.

Both parts of this series will bring together experts to talk openly with community members about how the criminal justice system works, and is strictly informational. No legal advice on specific situations or cases will be provided.

If you have a specific question that you would like the speakers to address, you can email it to me ahead of time at


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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Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity 
Each month, my staff and I volunteer in the 6th Senate District. This month, we helped our friends at Habitat for Humanity. Along with volunteers, Habitat for Humanity helps families build and improve places to call home. Affordable housing is a critical component in ensuring communities are strong and stable, and my office appreciated learning more about -- and being part of -- the work that they do.


FREE Health and Dental Care on Saturday, September 14 
Medical Mission at Home events, through Ascension Wisconsin, aim to deliver personalized health care, social and support services to those who might not otherwise be able to receive them. Services provided are at no cost to individuals. On September 14, Ascension Wisconsin will be holding a Medical Mission at Home event at North Division High School (1011 W Center Street, Milwaukee) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Services will include medical evaluations, laboratory testing, x-ray/mammography, dental care, pharmacy/medications, community resources and more. No insurance is needed.


Outreach in the 6th Senate District
This summer and fall, my office will be out in the community gaining input from you and your neighbors. I consider it a privilege to serve you in the Wisconsin State Senate and want to ensure that you know we are a resource for you and your family. We will continue to be knocking on doors over the next several months to get your opinions and thoughts about how I can best serve you in the state Legislature. If we haven't visited your block yet, you can always contact my office to provide input if you have questions or concerns about state issues. You can also visit my website and fill out a brief survey to let me know your thoughts on how I can best serve you and the rest of our community.

Visiting Churches Around the District
This past month, I was honored to visit several churches around the community. I want to thank the community and leaders at Calvary Presbyterian Church and Atonement Lutheran Church for allowing me to worship with you. I look forward to seeing many more of you at your places of worship throughout the coming weeks. 


Joining Milwaukee Kitchen Cabinet for their Back to School Celebration
This past month, I joined Milwaukee Kitchen Cabinet for their Back to School celebration. With the help of several corporate sponsors, the Milwaukee Kitchen Cabinet was able to provide 300 students from Townsend School with backpacks filled with school supplies. ⁠

The 6th Senate District is home to some of the most successful Milwaukee businesses as well as areas of the city that are in desperate need of community investment and economic development. The Milwaukee Kitchen Cabinet, through its work teaching culinary arts to kids in MPS and putting on events like this, strengthens our community. These events prove what we can achieve when those who have found opportunity and success in this great city reach back and make sure that the next generation benefits from that success. That action keeps the positive momentum going and growing prosperity into the future and across the city.

Initiatives like this showcase the best that our city has to offer, and I was thrilled to share in this community-building event.


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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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Introducing Legislation to Reduce Gun Violence

As elected officials, those we serve want to know that we are prioritizing the safety of their families. No parent should be afraid for their child’s life when they are walking down the street or in school, yet that is exactly what is happening. 90% of Americans support background checks for all gun sales. For these reasons, Rep. Melissa Sargent and I introduced a universal background check bill as it is a common-sense start to a needed conversation about how we can protect our children and make our communities safer.

GOP Joint Finance Committee Members Block Attorney General from Settling Lawsuit
In late August, Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) moved to go into an unprecedented closed session, allowing the committee to operate behind closed doors away from members of the media and the public. Democrats objected adamantly to this decision by the majority party. 

The purpose of the JFC meeting was to approve a settlement agreement proposed by Attorney General Josh Kaul on an undisclosed case. The meeting was a direct result of last December’s lame-duck Extraordinary Session and 2017 Wisconsin Act 369, which changed state law to require the Attorney General to have his settlement agreements approved by the Joint Finance Committee. Despite the November 2018 general election where Attorney General Kaul was democratically elected statewide to execute the duties of his office without the interference of legislative Republicans. 

In open session, Democrats offered a motion to approve Attorney General Kaul’s settlement plans, but it was rejected by the Republican members of the committee. By blocking the Attorney General from moving forward, Republicans are putting unknown, possibly substantial settlement funds for the State of Wisconsin at risk.

Supporting Breastfeeding Moms 
As a legislator, I strongly support the health and wellbeing of mothers and children in our state. While it will always be a personal choice to breastfeed and not every woman is able to, the benefits of breastfeeding are well-documented and breastfeeding should be promoted whenever possible.

In 2010, updates were made to the Fair Labor Standards Act that included a provision for employers to provide accommodations for employees to breastfeed at the workplace. A Wisconsinite brought lawmakers' attention a situation which my colleagues and I believe is an unintended consequence of this allowance. Her employer accommodated the need to breastfeed by allowing for an unpaid break to pump milk while at work. Unfortunately, the time she was clocked out to breastfeed ended up pushing her working hours below the minimum threshold for health insurance eligibility. The employer denied her health insurance benefits in an attempt to retain equality between her and other employees not meeting the minimum hour threshold.

A bill introduced by Representatives Ballweg and Subeck and me would bring Wisconsin law in line with the updates to the federal regulations and ensure that women who are clocking out or taking unpaid break time to breastfeed or pump milk do not jeopardize eligibility to receive their benefits by doing so. The bill requires that for employees whose benefits eligibility is dependent on the number of hours that the employee works, their employer must count any unpaid break time to breastfeed or pump milk for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits.


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.'


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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 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!