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



Sierra Club March for Science

Saturday, April 22

10:00 a.m.

Weigent Park



Lost Lakes Concert

Saturday, April 22

7:30 p.m.

Pump House Regional Arts Center



TEDx UW-La Crosse Salon: Adam Carroll on financial literacy

Thursday, April 27

3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

UW-L Murphy Library



A Conversation About Immigration in Our Community

Friday, April 28

5 pm. - 7:30 p.m.

Lunda Center at WTC







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


(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095




Friends and Neighbors,

I'm gearing up for a busy couple of weeks in the Capitol as a number of committees I serve on will be convening in preparation for our next Assembly floor session on May 2.


Next week will kick off with the Committee on Workforce Development and the Committee on Transportation meeting on Tuesday. These will be followed by a meeting of  the Committee on Tourism on Wednesday. Please continue reading for a more detailed outline of the bills being taken up by these committees.


I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended my water listening session this Wednesday! We had a great, sophisticated discussion about access to clean water in Wisconsin and it was wonderful to hear from so many students and community members. The main concerns brought up by attendees included over-pumping by high capacity wells, water pollution and the spread of liquid manure from large industrial farms, and the environmental impacts of the use of water by frac sand mining facilities. Community members stressed the importance of healthy and sustainable farming practices to keeping our water clean. They also emphasized the economic impacts of a healthy environment for communities, highlighting the importance of stream restoration and that the trout fishing industry brings in a billion dollars to our region. I was joined by many community members and UW-L students, and would like to extend a special thank you to the experts in the field who gave presentations and answered questions: Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo, who studies karst geology in the driftless region; Dr. Colin Belby, geography and earth science professor at UW-L; and Dan Baumann from the DNR.


I have really appreciated all the visits to my Capitol office, as well as the phone calls and emails I have received from constituents expressing their legislative priorities. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office by calling (608) 266-5780 or emailing 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




Upcoming Assembly Committee Meetings

Committee on Workforce Development

My first committee of the week, the Committee on Workforce Development, will hold a public hearing on AB 124 and AB 192.

  • AB 124 relates to the marketing of employment and training opportunities to former UW System students. This bill requires the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to compile and distribute a packet of information regarding employment and training opportunities available to former UW System students who attended, but did not graduate, from a UW System institution. A copy of the packet would be required to be sent to all such individuals within two months of the start of each semester.

  • AB 192 relates to career and technical education incentive grants. This bill, which I am a co-sponsor of, aims to address workforce shortages by requiring DWD to award $1000 to schools for each industry-recognized certification programs the previous year's graduates successfully completed. The grant is currently capped at $1000 per student, regardless of the number of certifications each student earns.

Committee on Transportation

The Committee on Transportation will be voting on AB 142 and AB 170 on Tuesday, April 25. These bills were heard in a March 28 meeting. Additionally, the committee will be hearing AB 185.

  • AB 142 addresses and implements changes on the recommendation of the Legislative Audit Bureau audit report of the state highway program. This bill requires DOT to provide more frequent and specific cost and time estimates for major highway projects. The bill was introduced by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

  • AB 170 would allow advertisers to place ads on bus shelters along state trunk highways. The ads would not block the glass panels used to see a coming bus and they would comply with regulations regarding the nature of content displayed in public places.

  • AB 185 would allow for the purchase of a school bus previously titled and registered in another state to be used for school transportation regardless of how old it is. Under current law, the Department of Transportation prohibits such a purchase if the bus is more than five years old.

Committee on Tourism

The Committee on Tourism will hear AB 180 and AB 181, relating to snowmobile trails and ATV safety training, respectively.

  • AB 180 would increase the amount snowmobile clubs may be reimbursed for trail maintenance from $250 to $300 per mile. Under this bills, the supplemental trail aid eligibility requirement would also go from up from $150 to $200 per mile. The requirement to purchase and display an annual snowmobile trail pass from the DNR will also continue to be enforced, with no changes to pricing. The additional funds will come from revenue generated from snowmobile fees and taxes, not from the state budget. I am a co-sponsor of this bill.

  • AB 181 would increase the amount of DNR conservation fund money allocated to the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety program. This bill also expands the definition of who can receive funding for providing ATV safety programs to groups that promote safe operation of utility terrain vehicles. Moreover, under this legislation, DNR would be required to determine the amount necessary to fund the program on a yearly basis.

Remember that constituents are always welcome to attend and/or testify on bills during committee public hearings. If you are ever interested in attending a public hearing or have questions about the process, please do not hesitate to contact my office.



Earth Day

On Saturday, April 22nd, I encourage all of you to join in the celebration of Earth Day. Earth Day has deep Wisconsin roots; it was founded by former Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, who sought to channel existing civic engagement into mobilization around environmental protection. Nelson believed that if enough people rallied around this cause, environmental issues would become part of the national political agenda. For nearly 50 years, Earth Day has proven to be a movement with the potential to spark changes in behavior and environmental policy.

Since the first Earth Day in 1970, the movement has grown from 20 million American participants to an estimated 1 billion people around the globe joining in activities each year. It is the largest civic demonstration in the world, and its organization works with a range of partners to address environmental issues from all angles. This year's Earth Day global campaign centers around environmental and climate literacy. Education and awareness of environmental issues are integral in forming an engaged population that will take serious steps to combat the effects of climate change.

One of the newest members of the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame is Milly Zantow who was a pioneer in plastics recycling and from Sauk City, Wisconsin! She joined forces with lawmakers, the plastics industry, and various communities to develop the "Recycling Triangle" which is now universally used to identify different kinds of plastics. Milly also set up recycling programs across the country and world, co-founded Sauk County's E-Z Recycling Center, which was one of the nation's first, and contributed to the 1990 Wisconsin Recycling Law and the EPA's recycling policies. To learn more about her, click here.

In La Crosse, there are a number of Earth Day events being held in the next few weeks, including:

Linked to the Land Earth Day Hike
Saturday, April 22 @ 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
La Crosse Blufflands North - Miller Bluff Pass, La Crosse

Clean Your Block Party
Sunday, April 23 @ 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Downtown La Crosse - 500 Main Street, La Crosse

"Sustainable: A Documentary" (followed by a Q&A)
Thursday, April 27 @ 6:30 p.m.
The Cavalier Theater and Lounge - 114 5th Ave N, La Crosse
Tickets are $10

La Crosse Earth Fair
Sunday, April 30 @ 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Myrick Park Center - 789 Myrick Park Dr, La Crosse




Drug Take-Back Day

On April 29th, the Department of Justice in Wisconsin will be hosting a state-wide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Police stations, sheriff offices, town halls, and other sites around the state will be accepting prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, ointments, creams, patches, non-aerosol sprays, inhalers, vials and pet medications so that these substances can be disposed of safely.

Unused and expired medications left in homes create serious health and safety risks, and can easily be misused and abused. When people flush these medications down the toilet, trace amounts of pharmaceuticals can be found in the water supply, as well as in our state's lakes, rivers and ponds.

This Take-Back Day serves as an opportunity to safely remove these substances, preventing potential risks to individuals and to Wisconsin's water sources. Far too many people misuse and abuse prescription medications in our state. By providing opportunities for disposal and education about how to properly handle these drugs, real improvement can be made to combat this growing crisis.

To learn more, click here.



April is Alcohol Awareness Month

This April 2017 Alcohol Awareness Month is recognized nationwide as an opportunity to educate ourselves and reflect on the negative effects of excessive alcohol consumption. In its latest summary of statewide alcohol use and abuse, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported that the alcohol consumption rate among Wisconsinites is 1.3 times higher than the national rate. Furthermore, our state's rate of adult binge drinking (22%) is third highest in the nation. This binge drinking can lead to a number of diseases and disorders, or physical injury.

In order to try to combat these alcohol-related issues before they occur, preventative measures must be taken. Here are some strategies to drink responsibly and prevent alcohol abuse:

  • Limit your drinking to 1-2 drinks per day

  • Keep track of how much you drink

  • Don't drink when you are upset - find another way to feel better

  • Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home

  • Avoid places where people are drinking a lot if you are trying to cut back

  • Make a list of reasons not to drink

If you are concerned about a friend or loved one who is showing signs of alcohol abuse, here are some resources for guidance and support:

  • Contact the Coulee Council on Addiction by phone (608-784-4177), email (, or in person at their facilities at 921 West Ave S in La Crosse. The CCA offers guidance for you or a loved one, general assessments with a counselor, referrals, support groups, and other services.

  • Call the toll-free number for the U.S. Health and Human Services number for drug/alcohol information and treatment -- 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

  • Look at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services webpage for "Substance Abuse Services -- Resources"



Spring Turkey Hunting Safety Tips

Spring turkey hunting season began Wednesday and, with an estimated 80,000 hunters expected to participate, it is essential to be very cautious and follow important safety practices. The Wisconsin DNR advises that the two key factors for a safe turkey hunt are following a detailed hunting plan and having a firm understanding of firearm safety.

According to the DNR, about 80 percent of all turkey hunting accidents result from hunters mistakenly shooting other hunters thinking they are game; the rest of the accidents are self-inflicted due to violating firearm safety rules. As such, remember to treat every firearm as though it is loaded, to point the muzzle away from yourself and others, and not to put your finger on the trigger until you have carefully identified your target and are ready to shoot. Additionally, wearing a blaze orange cap and gloves while walking can make you more visible to other hunters. When you do settle down in your spot, it is good practice to lean against a tree big enough to cover your back and shoulders - this will protect you from stray bullets, as well as make it harder for turkeys to see you.

I grew up in a family of hunters and know how exciting this time is for people. I hope these additional safety rules and tips from the DNR will help everyone stay safe and have a successful turkey hunting season:

  • Identify your target; it's not a good enough reason to take a shot when a hunter only thinks they are seeing a legal target

  • Do not shoot at sound or movement

  • Be certain of your target, what is in front of it, and what is beyond it

  • Avoid wearing red, white, and blue, which are colors also shared by gobblers

  • Use gobble calls only to locate a tom, not to attract one to avoid other hunters thinking you are a turkey

  • Keep hands and head camouflaged when calling

  • Never carry or move an uncovered decoy

  • Never stalk a wild turkey and keep at least 100 feet between you and a gobbler



Deer Feeding and Chronic Wasting Disease

The Wisconsin Legislature is currently reviewing Assembly Bill 61 (AB 61), a proposal related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). At the present time, the DNR prohibits deer feeding in counties in which deer have tested positive for CWD or Bovine Tuberculosis (BT). Since feeding deer can increase the risk of infection and transmission to healthy deer, it is critical to protect the health of the herd by limiting the spread of CWD and BT. This proposed legislation would allow deer baiting to resume in counties where CWD had previously been detected if no deer has tested positive for the disease for 36 months. Furthermore, the bill would permit baiting to continue in neighboring counties if no deer has tested positive for 24 months.

CWD poses a grave threat to the health of Wisconsin's vulnerable deer herd. CWD has been present in our state since 2002, and has since affected 43 out of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Since that number only includes counties and adjoining counties within 10 miles of where the disease has been detected through testing, it remains unclear just how wide-reaching the disease may actually be. Wisconsin's deer herd is an invaluable resource to our state and I am committed to maintaining and strengthening our outdoor heritage.

For more information on affected counties and regulations, visit the DNR's webpage here.



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