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

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




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

La Crosse Bike Swap
Description: Come to the swap to re-home your dusty bikes, parts, and accessories. Any bikes unsold at 2 pm must be picked up  or they  will be donated to Logan Bike Works.
Date: Saturday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: Logan Middle School


Two Rivers, Wisconsin is the home of the ice cream sundae. The ice cream sundae was created in 1881, when Ed Berner, owner of a soda fountain, topped a dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce. The name 'sundae' comes from a spelling mistake, considering the dish was originally only served on Sundays.

In 1973, the State Historical Society dedicated a marker in a Two Rivers downtown park commemorating the first ice cream sundae. Additionally, the Two Rivers city limits marker advertises its ice cream sundae history. Every July, the town celebrates Ice Cream Sundae Thursday.

Several other cities claim to have invented the first sundae, including: Buffalo, NY; Ithaca, NY; Evanston, IL; and Manitowoc, WI. But Two Rivers is the only one endorsed by the National Register of Historic Places.




Friends and Neighbors,

Welcome to my biweekly newsletter. This week's newsletter will focus on the many new provisions of the Wisconsin State Budget.

On February 3, Governor Walker announced the state budget, which included a number of funding cuts to public programs such as education, healthcare, and transportation. The proposals were met with criticism on both sides of the aisle, as they could bring unwelcome changes to our Wisconsin neighbors and families.

While the budget proposed by Gov. Walker is only a proposal, it is increasingly important that legislators work together to combat changes that could be harmful to our working families. Now more than ever, I hope we can come together to create commonsense solutions, repair our economy, and improve our state.

Continue reading this week’s newsletter for more information on the state budget.

Best Wishes,

Jill Billings
State Representative
95th Assembly District



Gov. Walker's State Budget: Top 5


Last week, Governor Walker introduced the 2015-2017 state budget. The budget involved a number of steep cuts to public programs, and some surprising new rules. A few of the cuts – public education and higher education – had been announced before the budget was released, and gained a significant amount of public opposition.

Here are the top five budget provisions to note:

1) Funding for Human Trafficking Prevention

I and a number of Wisconsin legislators have been reaching across the aisle to raise awareness to the problem of human trafficking in our state. In this budget, Governor Walker has proposed a $2 million investment in the prevention of human trafficking crimes. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, and must be stopped in Wisconsin and in the United States. I am pleased to see that the proposed budget makes provisions to end this crime.

2) Higher Education

The UW System is a bright example of Wisconsin’s capabilities. Year after year, it produces skilled students, unmatched research contributions, and billions in economic activity for the state. However, Gov. Walker has proposed to cut UW System funding by $300 million over the next two years. Combined with previous funding cuts, this would result in a more-than $600 million cut to the UW System. If this proposal were adopted, the UW System would be at its lowest funding level in system history. In most scenarios, the university could absorb the drop in funding by raising tuition costs. However, the UW System is under a tuition freeze for the next two years. Therefore, it is likely that serious cuts will need to be made in each UW System school to stay afloat.
In addition to cutting resources, the budget includes giving the UW System more autonomy, by giving control of the universities to the UW Board of Regents. This action nullifies existing statutes pertaining to the universities, and makes it possible for tuition to increase significantly after the 2-year freeze.

3) Public Education

Public education would undergo a number of drastic changes, should this budget be adopted. Not only has Gov. Walker proposed a funding cut -- a drop in $150 per-pupil – but he has incorporated a number of provisions that would limit local control of schools. In the budget proposal, Walker utilized similar concepts as were present in the controversial AB1 bill. These concepts included creating an 11-person state-appointed school accountability board, measuring schools’ progress on a report card grading scale, and increasing funding to voucher programs. The measures suggested in AB1 received negative public feedback from students, teachers and administrators – yet Gov. Walker chose to include the controversial proposals in his budget.

4) Transportation

Transportation spending changed dramatically in this proposed budget. First, Walker proposed $1.3 billion in bonding for transportation projects, meaning that Wisconsin would be going into further debt, borrowing money it doesn’t have. Wisconsin is facing a $1.8 billion deficit, and yet Governor Walker keeps spending on the state’s credit card.

Transportation proposals also include cutting $2 million from the Transportation Alternatives Project, and eliminating the Complete Streets program. The Transportation Alternatives Project provides for local communities to invest in bike and pedestrian projects like local planning and infrastructure. Similarly, the Complete Streets program creates safe bike and walking paths throughout Wisconsin. These programs are necessary for encouraging smart and safe transportation alternatives in our state.

5) SeniorCare

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 out of pocket on prescription drug costs.


February is American Heart Month


February is the American Heart Association’s “American Heart Month.” Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

However, heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

This February, celebrate American Heart Month by spreading the word about strategies to prevent heart disease.

On Feb. 6, Wisconsin legislators got together to raise awareness to women and heart disease, on the American Heart Association’s “Wear Red Day.” This day was meant to bring attention to the growing issue of heart disease and heart-health issues in women.

To learn more about American Heart Month, and how you can raise awareness to heart disease, visit:


2015 Deficit Higher than Projected



  End Demand in Wisconsin


Human Trafficking is the most severe form of human exploitation, and continues to be a significant problem in the United States, with thousands of women and children trafficked throughout the nation -- even in Wisconsin.

Legislators in Wisconsin are fighting to raise awareness of human trafficking, and make policy changes that will end this grave human rights violation.

This month, you can do your part to end human trafficking as well, with these tips from La Crosse’s own Options Clinic:

  1. Learn: the red flags of human trafficking

  2. Take Action: call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888 which is open 24/7. this center can help you connect to a provider in your area, report potential activity, request training, learn more and provide resources on the topic. You could also call federal law enforcement.

  3. Shop Smart: check out the Department of Labor's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor and shop smart. You could also donate or fundraise for organizations like the Salvation Army, which has an anti-human trafficking platform, or campaigns, like the Not For Sale Campaign.

  4. Spread the Word: include information about human trafficking in your workplace or social media.

  5. Advocate: learn about our anti-trafficking coalition or write your local, state, and federal government representatives or newspaper letting them know you care about stopping human trafficking.

Look for updates on my anti- human trafficking efforts in future e-newsletter reports.



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