Room 307 West
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
Phone: (608) 266-5780
Toll Free: (888) 534-0095
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Transportation Study: Thursday, March 12
Time: 5 to 7 p.m.
Location: Eagle Bluff Elementary, Onalaska
YMCA Family Fun Expo
Description: This year, the Coulee Parenting Connection will be
hosting the Altra/Gunderson Family Fun Expo. The Expo will run from
11am-4pm at the Onalaska Omni Center. The event starts at 11 am with the
Y's Color Dash. Following the color dash, head to the expo to refuel and
Date: Sunday, March 29, 11 AM – 4 p.m.
Location: Onalaska Omni Center
Did you know that each
year the Governor of Wisconsin hosts a conference on Tourism? The
conference is known as WIGCOT and has been held every year since 1987.
The conference has grown to be the largest state tourism conference in
the United States.
This year, La Crosse has the honor of hosting the event. It is taking
place March 15-17th with sessions at the La Crosse Center. Attendees
will also get a chance to tour some of La Crosse's tourism destination
"hot-spots" and it’ll bring over 700 people to La Crosse spending money
on hotels, food and local shops. This is a great event to boost our
To find out more about this year's conference visit:
View this e-mail in your web browser.
Friends and Neighbors,
One of the most
essential aspects of government is public involvement. After all,
legislators are representatives of the people -- and your views are
exceptionally important to the work we do. I greatly enjoy hearing from
and helping members of my community on various local and state issues.
That is why in the
next few weeks I will be holding two public listening sessions on the
budget. Details on these events are listed below.
If you have thoughts or
questions on the budget, I would encourage you to attend the public hearings I'm holding in La Crosse,
or one of the official Joint Finance Committee Public Hearings (details
e-newsletter kick off my "State Budget Feature." In this issue and
following updates, I will profile an item from the state budget.
As always, if you
have questions or concerns on state, local, or community issues of
importance to you, do not hesitate to contact me.
95th Assembly District
Crosse Listening Session and Public Education Forum
I, along with Senator Jennifer
Shilling and Representative Steve Doyle, will be hosting
listening sessions on the 2015-2017 Biennial Budget in
La Crosse. Information for the listening sessions follows:
La Crosse State Budget Public
Hearing with Rep. Billings and Sen. Shilling
Monday, March 16 (4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.)
Hall of Nations, Centennial Hall
1725 State St
Many areas of Western Wisconsin will be directly
impacted by these budget proposals, including our
workforce, education, roads, healthcare, and environment. This listening
session will give our community members a forum to voice
their opinions, questions, and concerns about the
biennial budget. I believe that La
Crosse residents should be well-informed about the
issues this budget could create in our community and I
look forward to discussing the budget with you.
State Budget Public Education
La Crosse Public Education Hearing
(Joint Listening Session with Sen. Shilling and Rep.
Monday, March 30
5:00 p.m – 6:30 p.m.
Logan High School,
1500 Ranger Dr
This event will be a public education forum featuring
Jeff Pertl, senior policy advisor for the Wisconsin
Department of Public Instruction and Randy Nelson, La
Crosse Superintendent of Schools, and local legislators.
Important topics concerning Wisconsin education will be
discussed at the forum, including the current state of
Wisconsin public schools, the impact of Gov. Walker's
proposed budget cuts on La Crosse's public schools, and
other foreseeable issues in public education. Time for
comment from the public will also be available.
Budget Public Hearing Locations Announced
Also this month, the Joint Finance Committee will hold public hearings regarding the
Governor's 2015-2017 budget proposal. These public
hearings will allow for Wisconsin residents to voice
their concerns with, and ask questions about, the
upcoming budget. If you would like to speak with the
legislators who serve on the Joint Finance Committee
about the budget and have your comments on the official
record, I would highly encourage you to attend a
listening session, even though many are far from La
However, if the proposed locations are
too far from home, remember I will be holding listening sessions
in the La Crosse! (explained above)
Dates and locations for JFC public hearings are as follows:
Wednesday, March 18 (10:00 a.m. - 5:00
Brillion High School
Endries Performing Arts Center
W1101 County Road HR Brillion, WI 54110
Friday, March 20 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00
3400 South 43rd Street
Milwaukee, WI 53234
Monday, March 23 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00
University of Wisconsin-Barron County
Fine Arts Theatre
1800 College Drive
Rice Lake, WI 54868
Thursday, March 26 (9:30 a.m. to 4:00
Reedsburg High School
CAL Center Auditorium
1100 South Albert Avenue
Reedsburg, WI 53959
In all the following e-updates,
I will feature a piece of the state budget. With Spring
arriving and bikes coming out of storage, I thought I
would feature a concern over cuts to the Complete
Streets, TAP program, and Community Sensitive Design.
Gov. Walker's budget proposal
eliminates the Complete Streets program, the
Transportation Alternatives Program, and Community
Sensitive Design funding -- programs which are essential
to implementing efficient travel alternatives.
Complete Streets law, adopted in 2009, mandates that all
roadways be design with consideration for all users --
including bicyclists, pedestrians, public
transportation, and motorists. Complete Streets
workshops have been hold across the state to ensure that
our roadways are accommodating to viable, energy
efficient, and healthy travel alternatives.
with repealing the Complete Streets program, Governor
Walker also proposed eliminating state support for the
Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). Authorized in
2012, TAP promoted enhancements for non-traditional
transportation, funding 27 projects in 2014 alone.
Projects funded by TAP included The La Crosse County
Safe Routes to School Non-Infrastructure Program and VIP
Community Sensitive Design (CSD) is also on the chopping
block in Gov. Walker's suggested cuts. CSD is a
community-based approach to creating efficient motorist
traffic patterns, while keeping in mind the surrounding
community. CSD projects in Wisconsin created I-94
corridor landscaping, bicycle and pedestrian
accommodations, and the architectural design of the
bridges, retaining walls and noise barriers along 34
miles of mainline roadway.
All three programs would be eliminated under the
Governor's proposed budget, making transportation
alternatives much less accessible.
Region Transportation Study
week the Wisconsin Department of
Transportation (WisDOT) Southwest Region office in La
Crosse began a series of public involvement
meetings to discuss the Coulee Region Transportation
Study. The study is meant to identify and evaluate a
range of transportation strategies to address regional
safety and mobility.
The WisDOT study process, called
Planning and Environmental Linkages, considers
environmental, community and economic goals early-on
during the transportation planning process. This
particular study will examine transportation throughout
the Coulee region.
To find out more about the project or
visit the Coulee Region transportation study website.
I know this study is of great
importance to all of us in La Crosse and the region, and
I hope to keep you up-to-date on the process as it moves
forward over the next year.
Representatives Send Letter Requesting Oil Train Safety
On March 5, an oil train crash
in Galena, Illinois caused a fiery wreck, lasting for
several days. This accident, coupled with past train
derailments, has caused much concern throughout the La
This crash also led our federal legislators to take
further action on questioning standards in rail safety.
Wisconsin's Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Ron
Kind sent a letter to President Obama urging immediate
action to increase oil train safety. Oil train accidents
have been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years
as a result of increased oil production.
In the letter, Baldwin and Kind noted the dangers for
Wisconsin communities located near rail lines. In fact,
more than 40 oil trains pass through Wisconsin cities
and towns every week. This year, Congress approved
additional funding to study safer tank cars, hire more
track inspectors, and repair rail infrastructure.
Baldwin and Kind urged the President to take action with
this additional funding to increase rail safety.
Specific suggestions outlined in the letter include
stabilization of oil, updated tank car standards,
improved operational controls, and increased
To view a copy of the original letter,
I appreciate Sen. Baldwin and Rep.
Kind's work on the federal level on this issue, and I
will continue to work with Sen. Shilling and local
partners to improve safety at the state level.
Gogebic Taconite Drops Plan to Construct Mine in Penokee
session, one of the issues I heard most about from
constituents was SB 1 (2013 Wisconsin Act 1), which
loosened environmental policies in the state, to
allowing Gogebic Taconite to construct an iron mine in
the Penokee Hills. I even toured the potential site of
the mine with my Republican colleagues. This proposal
was met with a great deal of criticism and is considered
one of the biggest environmental fights in Wisconsin
Last week, Gogebic Taconite Mining Company reversed
plans to construct an iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills
of Ashland and Iron counties. According to Gogebic
Taconite, the expanse of wetlands in the region made
iron mine construction unfeasible. Now that Gogebic
Taconite has dropped plans to construct the iron mine,
Wisconsin is left without the 700 additional jobs
promised, and with weakened environmental regulations.
To date, we have received a number of positive responses
to the Save SeniorCare petition -- add your name and voice to this
SeniorCare is under attack, and we need Wisconsinites like you to stand
up for our seniors' rights! The SeniorCare petition is still open, and I
encourage all to sign on and support our seniors.
Over the past few months, you may have
heard about Governor Walker's rejection of federal Medicaid dollars,
which would have saved Wisconsin an estimated $206 million over the next
two years. Throughout the state budget, and especially in health care,
we can see the effects of healthcare funding rejection. Under this
proposal, SeniorCare would be cut by $15 million -- a 40 percent cut.
Additionally, seniors would be forced to apply for Medicare part D,
which would cause them to pay more out of pocket expenses on
prescription drug costs.
SeniorCare in Wisconsin is once again
Sign the petition!