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(608)266-5780 | State Capitol, Room 307 West, P.O. Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708 | rep.billings@legis.wi.gov

 

COMMUNITY EVENTS:

La Crosse River Fest

Wednesday, July 1 through Saturday, July 4

E. Veterans Memorial Dr, La Crosse, WI 54601

 

UW-La Crosse's production of "Chicago"
Sunday, July 5, 2:00 p.m.

UW-L Toland Theater

 

Historical Society Brown Bag Lunch Series - "History in the Bag"
Tuesday, July 7, 12:15 p.m.

Riverside Museum

 

La Crosse Loggers v. Kalamazoo Growlers

Wednesday, July 8, 7:05 p.m.

Copeland Park

 

Freedom Fest
Saturday, July 18

UW-La Crosse Veterans' Memorial Field Sports Complex
 

CONTACT ME:

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

Phone:

(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095

rep.billings@legis.wi.gov

 

Friends and Neighbors,


This Saturday, we celebrate Independence Day, marking the passage of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Independence Day symbolizes a number of essential components of American history, but most importantly its tradition of unmatched rights and freedoms.


As you know, the Supreme Court made a number of historic rulings last week, siding with the rights and changing perspectives of United States' citizens. This year's Independence Day comes at the perfect time, as many U.S. citizens now have even more reason to celebrate equal protections under the law.


I wish you all a happy 4th of July, and hope to see you at Riverfest!

 

 

Best Wishes,



Jill Billings
State Representative
95th Assembly District

 

 

GOP LEADERSHIP REACHES BUDGET DEAL

 

Today, Republican legislative leaders announced that they have reached a deal on the state budget. This deal comes after a 5-week pause in Joint Finance Committee meetings over contentious issues such as transportation and Milwaukee Bucks arena funding.


The announced transportation package includes $500 million in bonding as well as $350 million to be issued by the committee as needed by the Department of Transportation. Surprisingly, the budget agreement will not include provisions for the prevailing wage or public funding for the Bucks arena. According to the announcement, Republican leadership is still attempting to pass those issues as separate legislation.


According to estimates, the $500 million reduction in funding for transportation projects would eliminate approximately 5,000 private sector jobs across the state. I am disappointed that these so-called leaders' discussions only did more to harm our economic prospects by eliminating jobs and ignoring needed funding restorations to areas like K-12 and university education.

 

 

 

 

WISCONSIN REACTS TO SUPREME COURT RULINGS

Supreme Court rulings were the highlight of last week's news cycle, and continue to show positive impacts on Wisconsinites' lives.


In the highly-anticipated marriage equality ruling, Supreme Court justices decided 5-4 to allow marriage equality in all 50 states. Writing for the majority Justice Kennedy made an impactful statement on marriage, stating, "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilizationís oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

 
With this ruling, the U.S. is now the 20th country to allow marriage equality nationwide.


The United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin court struck down Wisconsin's eight-year constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in July, allowing for a limited number of same-sex couples to marry before a stay was issued on the decision pending review by the 7th circuit appellate court.


I'm glad all states in our country will now afford all the equal right to marry who they love.


State Representatives JoCasta Zamarripa and Mark Spreitzer have called for Wisconsin to take additional steps to adhere to the Supreme Court's ruling by clarifying constitutional language. Before this ruling, Wisconsin's constitutional language expressly banned same-sex marriage by defining marriage as between a man and woman. The Representatives called for a constitutional amendment to remove this discriminatory definition and reflect the Supreme Court decision.


I am hopeful that Wisconsin legislators of both parties will act in accordance with the Supreme Court's decision by taking proactive steps to clear up language regarding marriage equality in our state.


Another important ruling issued by the Supreme Court last week involved subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The language of the Affordable Care Act indicated that subsidies were to be determined by a state exchange. However, a number of state's leadership -- including Wisconsin's governor -- refused to expand Affordable Care subsidies.


Thankfully, the court ruled 6-3 on the side of the everyday American, allowing states to keep their affordable care programs intact, and allow low-income residents the access to quality care. In Wisconsin, a loss of subsidies would have affected approximately 166,000 Wisconsinites. In La Crosse alone, thousands would have lost affordable care for themselves and their families, putting them at greater risk of health consequences.


While I am pleased with the court's ruling on this issue, I believe Wisconsin should follow the example of most of our Midwestern states in ensuring affordable care for all. Now, our governor and Republican legislators need to step up and make the commonsense decisions to accept the $350 million in federal funding for BadgerCare and establish a state exchange in order to protect the health of our citizens.
 


 

 

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA TO VISIT LA CROSSE

This Thursday, President Obama is slated to speak in La Crosse! The President will be speaking about new initiatives to bolster economic growth in western Wisconsin, and across the nation.


It is expected that the President will unveil his administration's plan to expand overtime pay, allowing approximately 5 million more people to be eligible for overtime benefits. With increased allowances, workers who make less than $50,000 per year would be eligible to earn overtime pay of 1.5 times their regular pay for any hours worked beyond 40 hours a week.


Wisconsin's limits for overtime pay have not been updated since 1977, and outline that anyone making more than $9,000 per year would not be eligible for overtime benefits. President Obama's proposal simply adjusts an out-of-date provision to keep up with inflation. By adjusting Wisconsin's overtime pay threshold for inflation, about 80,000 more Wisconsin workers would be eligible for overtime. The Obama administration has noted that this proposal will reward hard work with the fair pay our workers deserve.


I am excited that the La Crosse community will be able to be a part of this helpful move to foster economic growth.
 

 

 
 
 

JULY 4TH IN LA CROSSE

This Saturday is Independence Day! Independence Day celebrates the day that the former American colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, expressing grievances against and declaring independence from the control of King George III and the British Empire.


For this year's Independence Day, there are a number of celebrations going on around La Crosse. Here are a few of the events:


Riverfest (Ongoing)
Riverside Park
Wednesday, July 1 - Saturday, July 4
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

For more information, visit http://riverfestlacrosse.com/


Kwik Trip Fireworks Extravaganza
Riverside Park
Saturday, July 4, 10:00 p.m.

Firecracker 4-mile race to benefit the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation
Radisson Hotel
Saturday, July 4, 7:45 a.m.

For more information, visit http://www.laxautism.org/events-and-news/events/firecracker-4-mile/
 

 

 

 

NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? In 1984, President Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream day. This year, National Ice Cream Day will be Sunday, July 19.


About 10.3 percent of all milk produced by dairy farmers in the United States is used to produce ice cream. Given the high levels of dairy production in Wisconsin, ice cream contributes a significant amount of money to our economy every year!


To celebrate National Ice Cream Month, why not stop by La Crosse's famous Pearl Ice Cream Parlor or Ranison's, a neighborhood favorite, for a scoop?

 

 

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