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 |



Musical Chairs: A Songwriters' Round

Saturday, Jan. 28

7:30 p.m.

Pump House Regional Arts Center



Downtown Winter Open House

Friday, Feb. 3

4:00-8:00 p.m.

Downtown La Crosse

Participating Businesses


Alumni Invitational University Art Gallery Exhibition

Saturday, Feb. 4

12:00-5:00 p.m.

UW-L Center for the Arts

333 16th St N



Pearl Street Brewery Winter Ball

Saturday, Feb. 11

 2:00-10:00 p.m.

Pearl Street Brewery

1401 St. Andrew St




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


(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

I have had a busy few weeks, both in the Capitol and in our district. I was fortunate to attend the unveiling of UW-L's student union and a healthcare rally in our community; please keep reading for more information on these events. I have also enjoyed meeting with a number of constituent groups who visited me in Madison, ranging from members of the credit union association to broadcasters from our area. 

When not meeting with members of the community, I have stayed busy attending panels and presentations regarding women's health and homelessness across the state, as well as advocating about the importance of protecting Wisconsin's children from human trafficking. In all of these meetings, I am proud to be able to say my districts exerts great efforts to strengthen and support all members of the La Crosse community; at the same time, I am excited to learn new strategies that I can bring back to our district to further amplify the good work we are already doing.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any issue by calling (608) 266-5780 or e-mailing me at


Continue reading for more information on the happenings both in La Crosse and statewide.


Best Wishes,

Jill Billings
State Representative
95th Assembly District

Breaking: Judges order redrawing of voting district maps

Today, federal judges ordered the state legislature to redraw maps of Wisconsin's voting districts. This decision was made in response to Democrats' lawsuit calling for a review of Republicans' 2011 gerrymandering.

While this decision is a positive step toward correcting Republicans' unconstitutional gerrymandering, Democrats wanted the court to be the ones to redraw the district lines. As it stands, since the GOP controls the State Assembly and State Senate, Republicans and Gov. Walker will still be the ones drawing the new maps. Since it was their "unconstitutional reapportionment scheme" that caused the districting problem in the first place, I ask that there be a public hearing and an open process on the redrawing of these maps.

We need non-partisan districting reform in Wisconsin. Creating fair voting district maps should be taken out of the hands of politicians in either party and instead be delegated to a non-partisan commission; this is a model that has been successful in Iowa and that we need to ensure become implemented in Wisconsin. For this reason, I have co-authored a non-partisan redistricting reform bill every session since being elected in 2011, which has unfortunately failed to pass due to Republican opposition.



Lack of Transportation Funding is not Working for Wisconsin

With dilapidating roads and dwindling transportation funds, we need to make Wisconsin's transportation system needs a top priority in this session's upcoming budget.

As a member on the Assembly Committee on Transportation, I find the fact that our state's roads are some of the worst in the country deeply troubling. Moreover, as a representative from a Western Wisconsin district, I know very well that our poor roads are not only an impediment to interstate commerce, but also a safety concern. The GOP's disregard for fixing our roads and bridges -- 71 percent of which are in poor or mediocre condition -- has also slashed the number of construction jobs by the thousands. I do not want to see Wisconsin continue to slide in the rankings, falling farther behind our neighbors, and I urge Gov. Walker to include sufficient infrastructure funding in his biennial budget.

Click here to read my statement on Wisconsin's roads.


Homelessness in La Crosse

Earlier this week, I attended a presentation on evidence-based strategies to end homelessness in communities across the state. The presentation included a look at statewide data, identified which groups are most susceptible to homelessness, discussed the most effective interventions for homeless families -- including impacts and cost estimates -- and outlined leading research findings on ending homelessness.

I appreciated learning more about this incredibly important issue and was concerned to learn 857 people in La Crosse County sought help from La Crosse County emergency shelters between October 2015 and September 2016. Moreover, as a member of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, I was especially struck by a statistic stating 46 percent of the people served across the state during that time were families with minor children. This often means those families are moving around and their children may have to switch between different schools frequently.

The La Crosse Collaborative to End Homelessness also conducted a count of homeless people in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 26. After traveling around the city and looking in places where homeless individuals are likely to sleep outside at night -- such as under bridges and in tents -- the initial count found 25 people, a number that may go up if others who were not found self-report that they were outside. This does not, of course, include people who might be temporarily staying with friends or relatives, but are otherwise not home-secure.

One of my biggest takeaways from the presentation was the importance of having a housing-first mentality; in other words, having a safe, reliable place to stay should be the first step we help homeless people make so they can be better equipped to tackle unemployment, mental health, domestic violence and substance addiction issues. To this end, I am proud to say our community has been making good efforts toward combating homelessness on the local level.

On the state level, other legislators and I heard about strategies that have proven effective in addressing homelessness across Wisconsin. As a member of the Family Impact Seminar's Advisory Board, I was glad to see legislators on both sides of the aisle seriously considering the issue of homelessness and looking for ways to impact their communities.

To learn more about the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminar, click here.



My Response to State and Federal Attacks on Healthcare

With many uncertainties and questions surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I would like to take a moment to address what we do know about the state of healthcare in Wisconsin and nationwide.

Many of us agree the ACA was not perfect and it needed improvements. However, we should also acknowledge it saved lives, as well as money, for many of Wisconsin's residents. As we pay attention to any "repeal-and-replace" actions that may take place in the coming weeks, we must ensure that any replacement of the ACA will maintain some of its most valuable components. To me, these include eligibility regardless of pre-existing conditions, the ability for young adults to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26, having no annual limits on coverage and making sure medicine remains affordable for our senior citizens.

It is also incredibly important to me that our state continue to fund family planning clinics in communities across Wisconsin. Earlier this month, I joined 150-200 community members and spoke at a "Save Our Healthcare" rally in La Crosse where I heard numerous stories that affirmed the importance of clinics like these in our community. I commend these facilities for increasing access to life-saving cancer screenings, STI testing, birth control and sexual health education. Unfortunately, such clinics are currently in danger of being defunded so it is crucial we all stay engaged and vigilant. This is why legislative Democrats wrote letters to Gov. Scott Walker and Speaker Paul Ryan expressing our vehement opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood and eliminating it from the state's Medicaid program. You can read my statement in support of healthcare access here.

In a similar vein, I urge you all to contact me and your other state and federal representatives, including Speaker Ryan, to share your experiences and let us know what parts of the ACA are most important to you.

Photo: Mike Tighe, La Crosse Tribune



My Committees

As the 2017-'18 session gets underway, committee meetings have been ramping up. Earlier last week, I met with the chair of the Assembly Committee Workforce Development in preparation for our first meeting. As the ranking Democratic member on this committee, I look forward to meeting with the rest of the members, as well as having discussions with department chairs and heads of workforce programs in our community and across Wisconsin. Please feel free to contact me with any workforce development concerns throughout this session.

Two of my other committees, the Assembly Committees on Tourism and Children and Families, will also be meeting in the next several weeks, and I am excited to hear from the respective state departments on these issues.


UW-L Student Union is Now Open

I was excited to attend the grand opening of UW-La Crosse's brand-new student union earlier this week. Chancellor Joe Gow, alongside Director of University Centers Larry Ringgenberg and student government leaders, cut the ribbon and officially opened the facility for student use Tuesday morning. As a member on the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, I am proud to serve our local educational institutions.

It is a beautiful space that I think will serve students well for many years to come. I urge community members to take advantage of the opportunity to tour the building this Sunday, Jan. 29.


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