Images not loading? View this e-mail in your web browser.

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



La Crosse Global Initiatives Week

Friday, November 6 through

Friday, November 13

Various Locations


5th Annual UW-L Biennial United Nations Association Traveling Film Festival
Friday, November 6 - Saturday, November 7
UW-L Graff Main Hall Auditorium (MAP)


Navy League Honor 5K Run/ Walk

Saturday, November 7 at 10:30 a.m.

UW-L Veterans Memorial Field

400 E. Avenue N (MAP)


Coulee Region Transportation Study
Thursday, November 12, 2015
5-7 p.m., presentation at 5:30
La Crosse Central High School Cafeteria
1801 Losey Boulevard, La Crosse (MAP)




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


(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

Happy November! 2015 sure is flying by -- and there are a lot of exciting things happening in our neighborhoods and down in Madison.

This week's newsletter gives an overview of recent legislative progress, important community news, and exciting upcoming events in the Coulee Region. Continue reading for updates you wonít want to miss!


Best Wishes,

Jill Billings
State Representative
95th Assembly District








Legislative Session Recap



This week and last, the Assembly met to debate a number of important legislative issues. One of the most contentious bills made significant changes to Wisconsin's civil service program. The changes brought forth in the legislation removed basic fairness from the hiring process by eliminating civil service exams -- which previously ensured objective hiring -- and moving to a purely resume based system. The bill would also allow Governor Walker's Department of Administration to make hiring decisions for all agencies.

Wisconsin's civil service system has been in place for more than 100 years to protect taxpayers and public employees, and was reviews by a Blue Ribbon Commission under Governor Tommy Thompson. If there is a need to "modernize" how civil service functions, another commission should be formed with membership from all backgrounds to fully discuss, debate and develop a program that will support workers while keeping up with new employment standards.

Unfortunately, this bill passed the Assembly without the appropriate consideration and study needed to ensure its effectiveness.

Conversely, this week Democrats offered the sensible "Higher Ed, Lower Debt" proposal before the Assembly. Student loan debt is an issue that faces nearly 1 in 5 adults in Wisconsin. On average, Wisconsin students have $29,000 in debt making Wisconsin the 3rd worst in the nation in the percentage of graduates with loan debt.

The Higher Ed, Lower debt bill introduced a commonsense proposal to allow students to refinance student loan debts -- much like they could for a car loan or mortgage -- and lighten the immense economic burden they face from loans.

While this proposal would help the 814,000 federal student loan borrowers in WI, Republicans in the Assembly refused to even consider a vote on the bill.






Safe Harbor Bill Gets a Public Hearing



Last week, my Safe Harbor bill received a public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Children and Families. I was happy to see the Safe Harbor bill getting its due consideration -- especially considering how important this bill's passage would be to Wisconsin children's safety.

The Safe Harbor bill seeks to protect child victims of sex trafficking by eliminating the idea that there is such a thing as a "child prostitute." This action not only clarifies legal language in Wisconsin statutes, but brings Wisconsin in line with neighboring states' laws on sex trafficking. And most importantly, the bill would provide refuge and services to child victims of trafficking -- instead of treating them like criminals.

Safe Harbor's public hearing went well -- with many important groups around Wisconsin and individuals close to this issue testifying in favor of the bill. Judge Ramona Gonzalez was a welcome source of expertise and information at the hearing. In order for Safe Harbor to progress in our state, it will now need to be scheduled for an executive session.
If you would like to see Safe Harbor become law in our state I encourage you to contact Representative Jessie Rodriguez, chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, and voice your support for the bill.





Open Enrollment for Affordable Health Care

Open Enrollment for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) started this week, November 1st.

Visit to compare health insurance plans and see what types of subsidies are available to you. If you donít already have good health insurance through your employer, you can sign up for affordable coverage under the ACA either online, in person, or over the phone.

The ACA is here to stay -- guaranteeing affordable coverage to hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites.

If you are considering your healthcare options, I encourage you to visit before the open enrollment period ends in January.




Deer Hunting Online Registration

It's almost deer hunting season -- make sure you're up-to-date on registration before going hunting this season.

This year, electronic registration is making it easier than ever to register deer while keeping hunting traditions intact and allowing DNR to continue collecting important harvest data. Visit and search keywords "electronic registration" to learn more! And remember, over 200 businesses statewide are signed up to act as registration stations - a list of these stations is available at, keyword "registration stations."

Harvest totals will be updated weekly leading up to the 9-day gun deer hunt -- search keywords "weekly totals" for more information.

This year's deer hunting regulations can be found here. And, don't forget to check out this year's full Hunting and Trapping Forecast (or, just the deer version).




The Coulee Region Goes Global!

La Crosse's 3rd annual Global Initiatives Week kicks off this Friday!

The celebration will begin with a "Global Celebration" event sponsored by the La Crosse Foundation Global Awareness Fund. The remainder of the week is jam-packed with fun activities throughout the city. New to the celebration this year, enjoy specials and discounts at La Crosse restaurants like Dublin Square, Hmong Golden Eggrolls, and New Taste of India.

Events for the week include film screenings of award-winning films, the annual Frozen River Film Festival, and a "Global Friendship Celebration" for kids at the La Crosse Public Library.

Click here for the full events calendar.





Community Development Meetings


Coulee Region Transportation Study meetings will be taking place this month in Onalaska and La Crosse. These meetings constitute the fourth rounds of public involvement meetings to discuss the Coulee Region Transportation Study. The meetings will be held:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
5-7 p.m., presentation at 5:30
Onalaska High School Commons
700 Hilltopper Drive, Onalaska

Thursday, November 12, 2015
5-7 p.m., presentation at 5:30
La Crosse Central High School Cafeteria
1801 Losey Boulevard, La Crosse

The meetings are open to the public to review study materials, ask questions and provide comments. Additional Coulee Region Transportation Study meetings will be held in January, with the PEL report (Planning and Environment Linkage) expected to be completed in 2016.

Bluffland Protection Plan Meeting

Attend this event, hosted by the Outdoor Recreational Alliance, to give your input on recreational uses of the "Blufflands" to Planners who will create the Bluffland Protection Plan document. Details for the meeting are as follows:

Nov. 12th, 6-8 p.m.
Black River Beach House (MAP)

You can voice your input by taking the online survey here:



Rep. Billings Around the State!

I was honored to be recognized by the YWCA-La Crosse as one of it's 2015 "Outstanding Women." The photo on the left includes all nine honorees.

This week I met with members of the American Heart Association - Wisconsin today about teaching CPR to our kids in school.

During the "Oktoberfest in the Capitol" celebration, I was lucky to get photo with Mrs. Oktoberfest in the Assembly parlor!

I spent some time meeting with students in La Crosse's AVID program at Logan High School last week.




If you would like to have your name removed from this email list, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line