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



Wisconsin's Third Congressional District High School Exhibition

Now - Saturday, April 8

Gallery open 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.

UW-L Center for the Arts



Mayor's Neighborhood Expo

Saturday, March 25

8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.

La Crosse Center



League of Women Voters Legislative Breakfast

Saturday, March 25

9 a.m. - 10 a.m.

Days Inn Hotel & Conference Center



La Crosse Luna Story Slam

Saturday, April 1, 7p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Pearl Street Brewery






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


(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

The past couple of weeks have been quite busy, both in the Capitol and as I have traveled around the state with the Legislative Children's Caucus, which you can read more about further down. I also attended a meeting of the Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse, where I listened to a presentation on public health and participated in discussions on housing and prescribing professions.


In the coming weeks, I am planning several events in the district including a Legislative Forum at UW-La Crosse to discuss the governor's budget proposal and potential other legislation before the Wisconsin State Assembly. The forum will be held Friday, March 31 at 3:30 p.m. in the Hall of Nations at UW-L's Centennial Hall. In addition, members of the Joint Finance Committee will be holding budget listening sessions throughout the state. Keep reading for more information on exact dates and locations.


I know many of you have already contacted me regarding the state budget, which I greatly appreciate. As budget listening sessions get underway, I would encourage anyone who has questions or concerns to attend one of them and/or to contact my office by calling (608) 266-5780 or e-mailing me at


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


Best Wishes,

Jill Billings
State Representative
95th Assembly District

Budget Listening Sessions

Following the release of Governor Scott Walker's budget proposal this February, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) produced a summary of the governor's budget recommendations, which can be found here. The Democratic committee members also sent a letter to the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance asking for a transparent and accountable budget review and approval process. The letter can be read here.

Additionally, the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance have released the schedules for the state agency budget briefings, as well as for the budget's public hearings around the state, both listed below. Both the state agency briefings and the public hearings are open to the public; however, the public will only be permitted to testify at the public hearings, which all Wisconsinites are encouraged to do so. The briefings can also be watched live or as recordings on WisconsinEye.

Agency Briefings:
Tuesday, March 28th 9:00am
Department of Administration
     -Budget Overview
     -DOA Budget Provisions (including Building Commission and Budget Management and
     Compensation Reserves)
Department of Employee Trust Funds (including self-insured group health plans)
Elections Commission
Supreme Court (including the Circuit Courts, Court of Appeals, Judicial Council, and Judicial Commission) Department of Corrections
Department of Safety and Professional Services

Wednesday, March 29th 9:00am
Department of Veteran Affairs
Department of Health Services
Department of Children and Families
Department of Revenue (including Shared Revenue and Property Tax Relief and Lottery)
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Department of Transportation
Department of Justice

Thursday, March 30th 9:00am
Public Service Commission
Department of Natural Resources
Wisconsin Technical College System
University of Wisconsin System
Department of Public Instruction
Historical Society
Department of Workforce Development
Labor and Industry Review Commission

Joint Committee on Finance Budget Public Hearings:

Platteville (UW-Platteville) -- Monday, April 3rd from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
West Allis (State Fair Park) -- Wednesday, April 5th from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Berlin (Berlin High School) -- Friday, April 7th from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Spooner (Spooner High School) -- Tuesday, April 18th from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Ellsworth (Ellsworth High School) -- Wednesday, April 19th from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Marinette (Marinette High School) -- Friday, April 21st from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Senate and Assembly Democrats will also hold supplemental budget hearings throughout the state. Below are the scheduled dates and times:

Green Bay (UW-Green Bay) -- Saturday, April 8th from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Eau Claire (UW-Eau Claire) -- Saturday, April 8th from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Dodgeville (Dodgeville City Hall) -- Saturday, April 22nd from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Wausau (UW-Marathon County) -- Saturday, April 29th from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.


Democratic Agenda Rollout

On Thursday, March 16, Wisconsin's legislative Democrats rolled out the official 2017-18 democratic agenda. Prioritizing Wisconsin families and communities, the agenda highlights the importance of establishing an economy that works for all Wisconsinites as opposed to just the wealthy few. This includes investing in education and infrastructure that can benefits everyone, and keeping citizens informed and engaged in governmental processes and actions. To this end, we underscore three key values that will serve as our guiding principles this legislative session: fairness, opportunity and community. This agenda is meant to serve as a broad values statement, with the understanding that a more specific outline of programs is forthcoming.

Through fairness, we aim to ensure greater worker protection and flexibility, safeguard the right to vote, end corporate giveaways and support small businesses. With a focus on opportunity, we will maintain Wisconsin's tradition of quality public education, embrace innovation and continue to pursue open, accountable government. By prioritizing community, the Wisconsin Democrats will work to safeguard affordable health care, restore local economic control, promote clean natural resources and outdoor recreation and support strong, healthy communities.

A copy of the Wisconsin Democratic agenda, "Wisconsin Way Forward," can be found here. If you are interested in learning more about the Wisconsin Democratic agenda, click here to sign up for updates.


"Repeal & Replace" of ACA to hit hard in Western WI

With 220,000 Wisconsin residents in danger of losing their healthcare coverage if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed, State Assembly and Senate Democrats wrote a letter to Wisconsin's congressional delegation, urging them to oppose Congressman Paul Ryan's replacement plan. The letter, which was signed by all members of the Assembly and Senate Democratic caucuses, voiced our concerns that hundreds of thousands of people in Wisconsin would lose their coverage altogether, while another 3.2 million could expect an increase in out-of-pocket costs.

The repeal would be devastating to all Wisconsinites, and it would unfortunately hit the western and northern parts of the state hardest. More than 28,000 people in our congressional district are at risk of losing their coverage. The ACA has saved the lives of tens of thousands of Americans by affording them access to otherwise inaccessible medical care. Repealing the ACA without a replacement that would ensure coverage and keep low premiums is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous to Wisconsinites' health and well-being.




World Water Day

I was honored to have the opportunity to speak at a World Water Day event in La Crosse this Wednesday, March 23. The event was meant to raise awareness for issues related to water access both worldwide and in our community. There, I was joined by UW-L Geography and Earth Sciences Professor Colin Belby, UW-L Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Kris Rolfhus, La Crosse farmer and Youth Educator Ana Skemp, and Sister Lucy Slinger, who is an ecological advocate for the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and an adjunct professor at Viterbo University. I was glad to be able to share the stage with these water advocates and I learned a lot from each of their talks.

I focused my part of the presentation on my concern that runoff manure from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) pollutes our groundwater, and does so at alarming rates. In fact, one third of the well water in Kewaunee is not safe to drink. Even more shocking is that a higher percent of the child population of Milwaukee County has detectable lead in their blood than do children in Flint, Michigan. This is simply unacceptable and it is time we think critically about protecting our state's water resources.

I also expressed my opposition to SB 76/AB 105, a piece of proposed legislation that would eliminate the requirement for high-capacity well owners to get any well renovations, reconstructions or transfers approved by the DNR. This approval process is currently the only opportunity the DNR has to review that a well in not over-pumping and causing water scarcity. I believe this bill would lead to a violation of the public's trust and put our state waters at risk.



Mississippi River Parkway Commission Appointment

I am honored to be appointed to the Wisconsin Mississippi River Parkway Commission, a group that works hard to leverage funds for highways and byways, bike and walking trails, scenic overlooks, and historic preservation along the Mississippi River.

For many years, I have been a strong advocate for the Mississippi River Corridor, as well as for the Wisconsin Great River Road National Scenic Byway, which is why I am thrilled to be a part of this group. As the ranking member on the Assembly Committee on Tourism, it is especially fitting and exciting to get involved with the MRPC, the members of which do so much good work to strengthen the areas along the Mississippi River.

The commission's next meeting is set to be in La Crosse on May 5, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Headquarters on 3550 Mormon Coulee Road.


Children's Caucus Wrap-Up

The statewide tour of the Legislative Children's Caucus finished this Friday in Rice Lake. By traveling to various communities in the state, one of the main recognitions my co-chairs and I came away with is that struggling families are often isolated and that to overcome this, we, as communities, need to band together to strengthen families and protect children. The reality is that many families rely on local community providers to receive crucial services. These providers -- both on the municipal and county levels -- do a lot of great work, but it is important to realize that not all parts of the state have the resources necessary to properly meet the needs of the people living there. This is why the state should invest in human services. Unfortunately, there has been no new funding for human services departments since the turn of the century although case loads have continued to grow. These departments, which were stretched thin as it was, have experienced an additional pull for resources recently as a result of Wisconsin's opioid abuse epidemic. This is why we must commit to funding human services departments across the state and raising awareness for the help they provide.

I was very pleased that all of the Children's Caucus sessions were well attended by legislators and the public. In La Crosse, we were lucky to hear from a wide array of knowledgeable speakers from the area, including Amanda Jalensky from the Family and Children's Center of La Crosse, Jodi Widuch and Kristi Strelow from The Parenting Place of La Crosse, and Dr. Ann Budzak, a pediatrician at Gundersen Health System. In the afternoon, we heard from Tanya Evanson from the Parenting Place of Monroe County and Lori Stellflue and Desiree Gearing-Lancaster, who work for Children and Family Services for the Ho-Chunk Nation. Our other wonderful speakers included Jason Witt and Tracy Puent from the Family and Children's Section of the La Crosse County Human Services Department, Isaac Hoffman from the La Crosse Area Family Collaborative, Neighborhood Resource Officer Daniel Ulrich from the La Crosse Police Department, and Laura Huber, who serves as principal at Northside Elementary School. I am very grateful for these speakers for sharing their time and expertise and, as always, am so proud to be a co-chair of this bi-partisan effort to advocate for all of Wisconsin's children.



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