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 | email@example.com
Friday, June 30 - Sunday, July 2
7:30 p.m. on 6/30 and 7/1
2 p.m. matinee on 7/2
UW-L Center for the Arts
Thursday, July 6
(recurring every summer Thursday)
5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Thursday, July 6
7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Pump House Regional Arts Center
Sunday, July 9
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Historic Hixon House
Sunday, July 9
2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.;
6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
St. Rose Convent
July 14 - 15
Friends and Neighbors,
During the past week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend two conferences related to child development and welfare. The first of the two, the Early Learning Fellows Program, covered the most current research and findings in early childhood education, while the Three Branch Institute's conference on Improving Child Safety and Preventing Child Fatalities encouraged cooperation across braches of government in order to address child wellbeing and safety challenges.
Investing in early child care and education has been proven to yield significant future returns for our economy. It is essential that Wisconsin legislators prioritize learning and development initiatives in early childhood, and take steps to ensure the healthy growth and wellbeing of Wisconsin's children.
Since my last newsletter, the Assembly met and passed two of the highly controversial bills I wrote about last time. The first of the two, AB 299, seeks to suppress UW students' right to free speech. This bill is not constitutionally sounds, and if it ends up being signed into law, I would expect it may go to the courts. The second bill, AB 260, would allow exams performed by a chiropractor to satisfy the pre-practice sports physical requirements for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA). I was against this bill on the grounds that chiropractors' training does not cover all of the elements necessary to conduct a physical; these include: cardiovascular conditions, appropriate immunizations, growth and development, mental and behavioral health, laboratory tests, hearing and vision screening, anticipatory guidance related to adolescent risk-taking behaviors, and health education. Many medical providers expressed concern over widening chiropractors' scope of practice via this legislation, and 23 different medical organizations - including the Chiropractic Society of Wisconsin - did not support the bill. I spoke on the floor against both AB 299 and AB 260, but, despite Democrats opposition, they both passed out of the Assembly and will now be sent to the Senate. I would like to thank all of you who have contacted me with regard to these and other issues for staying informed and engaged.
From a legislation standpoint, Sen. Kathy Vinehout and I recently co-authored a package of "Right-To-Know" bills relating to frac sand mines that was released earlier this month. These bills would require citizens to be notified when frac sand mines are proposed in their area, as well as increase opportunities for public participation in decisions related to frac sand mines. These bills strengthen local control and give local governments the option to register prospecting and to set standards, such as hours of operation, blasting policy, and impacts on local roads.
I hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend! I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at River Fest.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding pending legislation, the state budget, or any other issue, feel free to contact my office by calling (608) 266-5780 or emailing me at Rep.Billings@legis.wi.gov.
Please continue reading for more detailed information on the happenings both in La Crosse and statewide.
95th Assembly District
Progress toward approving the state budget has been stalled in the last two weeks, as the Joint Committee on Finance has not met and do not yet have any upcoming meetings scheduled. During that time, the Republican JFC co-chairs, as well as the leaders of Senate and Assembly, have had a string of closed-door negotiations in preparation for the end of the fiscal year. Speaker of the Assembly Robin Vos and Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald also met with Gov. Scott Walker to discuss the budget yesterday.
Three major budget items still outstanding are the education and transportation budgets, as well as taxes. Republicans seem to be especially split on how to fund fixing our roads, with talks of Senate Republicans writing their own budget proposal instead. An alternate budget has not been introduced at this time, but Fitzgerald hinted to reporters that Republicans are exploring revenue sources other than increasing the gas tax or vehicle registration fees.
According to state statute, the deadline to pass the budget is the end of this month. However, if consensus cannot be reached by June 30, the state will continue to operate based on the funding levels outlined in the current biennium's budget until the legislature can approve the new budget. This is what happened in 2015, when the budget was not signed until July 12.
Democratic Education Funding Plan
Legislative Democrats introduced a comprehensive K-12 budget proposal that would restore funding cuts made by Governor Walker over the past six years and implement a fair funding strategy to address longstanding inequity between school districts in our state.
The plan would deliver much-needed aid directly to the schools and their pupils while also decreasing property taxes by an average of $3 per household. Rather than penalizing schools and pupils with stagnant aid under the Republican plan, it is time that we finally give our districts the funds necessary to invest in Wisconsin's students.
See the a comparison of Democrats' and Republicans' plans below:
Response to Senate Health Care Bill
Last week, Senate Republicans introduced a health care bill, dubbed "Trump Care," which would drastically alter the health care system in our nation, as well as here in Wisconsin. While this bill is being taken up at the federal level, and therefore I will not have an opportunity to weigh in on it, the passage of Trump Care would have severe implications for Wisconsin residents. It is estimated that 394,100 Wisconsinites would lose coverage under this bill, leaving more people uninsured than before the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Private Colleges Week
July 10-15 will mark the 21st annual Wisconsin Private College Week. During this week, prospective students and their families can visit private, nonprofit colleges across the state. Visitors can tour campuses, attend information sessions, discuss financial aid opportunities, meet with counselors, and connect with students and faculty across the many campuses. This week is an excellent opportunity for students to find the college or university that best fits their needs.
I encourage prospective students and their families to take this opportunity to visit our own Viterbo University campus to learn more about the admissions process and talk to current students and staff.
learn more and register for college visits
If you would like to have your name removed from this email list, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line