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(608) 266-5780 | State Capitol, Room 307 West, P.O. Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708 |


Viroqua Medicaid Town Hall
April 30
Viroqua Library

Neighbors Day
April 27
City of La Crosse

Arbor Day
April 26

Restaurant Week
April 22 - 28
City of La Crosse

Successful Aging Program (1/3)
April 23
Franciscan Healthcare Marycrest Auditorium


State Capitol
Room 307 West
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

(608) 266-5780

Toll Free:
(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

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Another newsletter, another round of budget updates! As the 2019-21 biennial budget continues to move through the legislative process, the Joint Finance Committee has continued to host public budget hearings throughout the state. So far, they’ve held hearings in Janesville, Oak Creek, and River Falls, with one final hearing scheduled for April 24th in Green Bay. I was in attendance at the River Falls hearing on April 15th, and I heard resounding support from folks across the state who came to testify in favor of a variety of provisions embedded into Governor Evers’ budget, including but not limited to his plan to accept the federal Medicaid expansion money. Thank you to all those from La Crosse who made their way to River Falls to make their voice heard! For those of you who have been unable to make it to the Joint Finance Committee public hearings, consider submitting written comments to BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov to share your thoughts on the Governor’s budget.

In addition to the Joint Finance Committee hearings, the Governor has been hosting listening sessions around the state as part of “The People’s Budget” listening tour. So far, the Governor has hosted sessions in Stevens Point, Kenosha, Superior, and Eau Claire. I was at the Superior and Eau Claire sessions on April 15th & 16th, and again heard from individuals who supported the host of initiatives the Governor has put forth. Wisconsinites at those sessions were especially passionate about the budget’s environmental provisions, including Governor Evers’ clean water initiatives as well as his proposition to renew the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Fund.

Finally, Senator Shilling and I will also be hosting a Medicaid Town Hall in Viroqua on Tuesday, April 30th to discuss the Governor’s plan to accept the federal Medicaid expansion money, to answer any questions individuals may have, and to hear from constituents in our area about where you’d like to see those funds allocated. Please consider attending this listening session, as well as the final Joint Finance hearing in Green Bay, and the Governor’s future “People’s Budget Tour” listening sessions. Keep an eye on my Facebook as well as the Governor’s social media for more information!

Keep reading to learn more about the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, the Governor’s transportation budget, and last week’s State of the Tribes address.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. You can always contact my office by calling (608) 266-5780 or emailing me at Rep.Billings@legis.wi.gov.


Best Wishes, 

Jill Billings
State Representative 
95th Assembly District

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April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month


April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, as declared by a resolution I authored earlier this month. As a long-standing member on the Children and Families committee as well as an appointee to the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, recognizing the importance of preventing child maltreatment, enhancing child well-being, and promoting awareness about available preventative services in Wisconsin is very important to me.

I have been a member of the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board since 2014. The Board is an organization that aims to “mobilize research and practices to prevent child abuse and neglect in Wisconsin,” as we believe that every child in Wisconsin has the right to grow up in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment. Since 2015, our strategies have encompassed creating and advocating for effective prevention public policies, promoting evidence-informed practices and developing innovative programs that support parents and caregivers, collaborating with key stakeholders to leverage resources and implement prevention initiatives, and educating professionals and community members on child abuse and neglect issues.

The Board met last week to discuss upcoming initiatives, including our Five for Families campaign. Five for Families was developed as a universal prevention strategy, and highlights five essential strengths that keep all families strong. The five strengths include 1) helping kids understand feelings, 2) parenting as children grow, 3) connecting with others, 4) building inner strength, and 5) knowing how to find help. I look forward to continuing to work with the Board to promote these five essential strengths, and to help families across Wisconsin build healthy families and strong relationships. I will also continue to defend prevention initiatives embedded in the Governor’s budget – like the expansion of Wisconsin’s home visiting program to support expecting mothers with infants and small children – as the budget bill moves through the legislative process.


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Budget Highlight: Transportation


It is no secret to La Crosse residents that Wisconsin’s infrastructure is in sore need of repair and revitalization. As I’ve been travelling around the state to different listening sessions throughout the past few weeks, I myself have been reminded of the pressing state of disrepair that roads all across Wisconsin are in. The newly proposed approach to sustainable transportation funding in Governor Evers’ budget introduces a strategic and comprehensive plan to address our longstanding transportation needs.

Under this new approach, the Governor ends the transfer of general purpose revenue (GPR) to the Transportation Fund for the first time nearly a decade, freeing up this important source of revenue so it can be allocated to other crucial public services. He adjusts for this funding mechanism change by raising the motor tax, heavy vehicle registration fees and title fees, and activating the hybrid vehicle surcharge fee. Despite these changes, Wisconsin drivers will see no increase in the annual registration fee, which is already among the lowest in the country. The Governor also plans to raise the gas tax, but will offset this increase through the elimination of the minimum markup law, which should prevent consumers from paying more at the pump.

The new transportation budget will also reduce the need for future borrowing, reversing the harmful effects of previous budgets’ neglect of our roads. Together, these actions will introduce a combination of revenue changes and new investments that will finally allow Wisconsin to address its transportation crisis and make crucial improvements to our already existing infrastructure.

I am proud to support Governor Evers’ budget and am pleased to see that it makes necessary and positive changes to Wisconsin’s transportation financing. The unprecedented investments made alongside the Governor's recommendations for the maintenance of highways, rails, and harbors will safeguard Wisconsinites’ ability to travel to work, send manufacturing and agricultural products around the globe, encourage tourism throughout the state, and much more.




State of the Tribes Address


Last week I was delighted to attend the State of the Tribes Address given by Chairman of the Oneida Nation, Tehassi Hill. Beginning in 2005, the State of the Tribes has been an annual address given by a member selected on behalf of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc. which seeks to facilitate better communication and collaboration between the Wisconsin Legislature and the 11 federally recognized tribal governments in Wisconsin. At the same time, the State of the Tribes Address offers the people of Wisconsin a unique opportunity to learn more about issues facing the tribal nations and serves to illuminate areas of mutual concern. 

This year, Chairman Hill began his speech by highlighting the significant contributions both to the state’s economy and to Wisconsin’s business communities that tribal nations facilitate each year. As he mentioned, the Oneida Nation alone provides $744 million and 5,465 jobs to Brown and Outagamie Counties annually. Subsequently, Chairman Hill called for a number of policy changes that would benefit both the state of Wisconsin and its tribal nations.

First, Hill called for the prohibition of Native American mascots, which he argued promotes racist behavior by stereotyping and dehumanizing indigenous culture. There are 31 schools in Wisconsin that still embrace a Native American mascot. Next, Hill championed the need for greater environmental protections and declared climate change a “national emergency,” as living off and with a healthy and vibrant natural environment is “the cornerstone of Native life and Culture.” Finally, Hill emphasized the significant disparities Native Americans face in regards to healthcare access and costs, rates of substance abuse, and access to affordable housing.

In the wake of Chairman Hill’s important State of the Tribes Address, I am looking forward to working with my legislative colleagues to address these issues in order to improve conditions for the tribal nations as well as the citizens of Wisconsin. I would also like to recognize and congratulate Ryan Greendeer, a La Crosse constituent, for being selected to serve in the Veterans Color Guard presentation of colors in the Assembly during the ceremony! It is always wonderful to see the residents of La Crosse actively engaging with the greater Wisconsin community, and I am honored to serve as your representative.


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The Presentation of Colors ceremony, of which La Crosse constituent Ryan Greendeer was a part.


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Enjoying the State of the Tribes Address with my colleagues Rep. Sondy Pope and Rep. Deb Kolste.


Rep. Billings Around the State


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Myself and Governor Evers at the Eau Claire "People's Budget" listening session.


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The crowd at the Superior "People's Budget" listening session.


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La Crosse constituents testifying at the Joint Finance Committee's public hearing in River Falls.


Rep. Billings at the Capitol


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Loved talking to La Crosse Fire Chief Ken Gilliam and other fire chiefs from around the state last week!