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

(608) 266-5780
Toll Free: (888) 534-0095




Men's Basketball UW - La Crosse vs. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Date: Jan. 17 9:00 p.m.
Location: UW-La Crosse Athletics

Ski Jumping Tournament
Date: Thursday, January 29th, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
Location: Snowflake Ski Club

Twelve Angry Men

Date: Feb. 13 through Mar. 1., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.
Location: Veterans Studio Theater

La Crosse Community Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration to Feature Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges
Date: Monday, Jan. 19
Location: Viterbo University Fine Arts Center


January is...

January is National Blood Donor Month. Did you know that one pint of blood can save up to three lives? Almost every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood donation, and more than 41,000 blood donations are needed per day.

Consider donating blood this year, hosting a blood drive, or volunteering in honor of National Blood Donor Month.

Click here to find a blood donation center near you.

Fun Fact

Wausau, Wisconsin is the ginseng capital of the world. In fact, Wisconsin is the leading producer of ginseng, making more than 10 percent of the world's supply and more than 90 percent of the U.S. supply.

In 1904, the Fromm brothers of Hamburg, Wisconsin transplanted 100 wild ginseng plants onto their land in Marathon County. This led to the creation of American Ginseng of Marathon LLC many years later. This business owns over 280 acres of soil, and has been producing ginseng for over 30 years.

Ginseng root has been known to lower blood sugar, cholesterol, help with stress, improve strength and promote relaxation. Ginseng is used as an ingredient in many products throughout the world, and Wisconsin gets to take a lot of the credit!







Friends and Neighbors,


Welcome back to our newsletter. This biweekly newsletter will help keep you informed on a number of important issues in our region, state, and nation. Last week, the 2015-16 legislative session began. I was inaugurated on January 5 and am honored to continue serving as the representative of Wisconsin's 95th Assembly district. In the first few days, Wisconsin legislators were already hard at work drafting and discussing legislation. I am eager to continue working for the people of La Crosse, and am hopeful that our legislature will be able to make positive changes for our neighbors and families.

As always, please let me and my office know if we can be of assistance in any way.



Best Wishes,

Jill Billings
State Representative
95th Assembly District



Gov. Walker Delivers "State of the State" Address


Governor Walker gave the State of the State on Tuesday and detailed his plans for Wisconsin's next four years. In his address, Walker spoke on the consolidation of Wisconsin agencies, education, and plans for economic progress among other topics.


During Governor Walker's first State of the State, he promised to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin. In later promises, he said Wisconsin would start this year with a surplus. We've entered this year with a crippling, multibillion-dollar deficit and have been last in job growth in the Midwest for the past 3 years. With this knowledge, it is crucial that the Walker administration now take a careful look at its past policies and make significant changes to restore prosperity for hardworking, middle-class families.

To make positive change in our state, we need to fight for our local workforce, push back against special interests' monetary influence, and ensure that our public schools have the resources to continue to provide a quality education for all Wisconsin students. In order to avoid another financial crisis, we must also ensure that proposed consolidations of state agencies are thoughtfully discussed and debated.

This session, I hope my legislative counterparts can move past partisan goals and special-interest incentives, and focus on implementing commonsense solutions for our Wisconsin neighbors and families. My democratic colleagues and I are committed to restoring economic progress in our state, creating opportunities for our children to succeed, and protecting Wisconsinites' most basic freedoms.



EIS Requested for BNSF Railway


Last week, my office, along with Senator Jennifer Shilling and Representative Steve Doyle, sent a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requesting an Environmental Impact Study for the proposed development of a BNSF rail line over the La Crosse River Marsh.

As many of you know, the La Crosse River Marsh is a staple in our community, and is very important for the ecological development of the area. Construction of this area could have environmental consequences that we need to prevent. Therefore, we are requesting that, before development can proceed, the DNR conduct an Environmental Impact Study, which would ultimately show whether or not this project is a sound decision in La Crosse.

To view a copy of the letter to the DNR, click here.


Education Bills Proposed in First Session


During the first week of the legislative session, both the Democrats and Republicans proposed bills that dealt with education accountability.

The Democrats' bill is a re-draft of SB 288 from last session, which had bipartisan support. Aiming to increase transparency between taxpayers and publicly-funded schools, this bill proposes mandatory background checks and teaching licenses for educators in the State of Wisconsin, uniform graduation standards, and requiring all voucher-funded schools to be located in Wisconsin. This bill proposed a number of common-sense ideas to make our educational system more accountable to taxpayers, parents, and students.

The Republicans' proposed bill, now AB1, had a public hearing this week, Wednesday, January 14. Unlike the Democrats' bill, this bill took a different interpretation of "accountability." AB1 does not address the basic inequalities of accountability that are currently allowed between public schools and private voucher schools. Instead, AB1 limits local control, proposes labeling all Wisconsin schools with a letter grade of A-F, and allows each individual school to set its own educational standards. Clearly, these ideas do not improve accountability, but rather provides conflicting information to schools and families and creates further unequal standards for schools.

Wisconsin public schools are the building blocks to a strong economy and strong communities. We need to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed, and that taxpayer-funded voucher schools are held to the same standards.


 Human Trafficking Symposium Highlights Areas for Policy Reform


In recognition of National Human Trafficking Awareness month, my office, along with Rep. LaTonya Johnson, Rep. Joel Kleefisch, Rep. Jessie Rodriguez, and Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd hosted a legislative symposium on human trafficking.

The symposium aimed to raise awareness and understanding of sexually exploited youth in Wisconsin, in order to take action to work to end the human trafficking of children in our state. Panel members speaking at the event included La Crosse's own Sister Marlene Weisenbeck, speaking as a member of the La Crosse Anti-Human Trafficking Taskforce. Other panelists included The Human Trafficking Taskforce of Greater Milwaukee, End Demand Wisconsin, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Federal Task Force on Human Trafficking.

Making legitimate change in human trafficking in our state, nation, and worldwide includes cracking down on traffickers, aiding trafficking victims, and educating the public to stop the spread of trafficking.


Look for updates on Human Trafficking legislation I'm working on in future e-newsletter reports.



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