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


Summer Days Sidewalk Sale

Friday, July 28 - Saturday, July 29

All day

Downtown La Crosse


Summer School Theater: "Once on This Island Jr."

Friday, July 28 and

Saturday, July 29 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, July 30 at 2 p.m.

Logan Middle School



Lions Ride for Sight Bike Ride

Saturday, August 5

8 a.m.

La Crosse River State Bike Trail Head



Rock'n the Docks

Saturday, August 5

2 p.m. - midnight

Huck Finn's on the Water




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


(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095

Friends and Neighbors,


I was recently appointed to the Speaker's Task Force on Foster Care, a bipartisan group that met for the first time Thursday. The task force was created in an effort to identify areas for improvement in Wisconsin's out-of-home care system and develop strategies ranging from prevention of entering the system in the first place to providing the necessary support for young adults aging out of the system.


At the initial meeting, the task force heard testimony about the pressing issues in foster care from the Department of Children and Families, the Coalition for Children Youth and Families, Wisconsin Counties Association, the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, and Lutheran Social Services. Moving forward, a number of listening session will be held across the state to hear testimony from local community providers of out-of-home care. I am looking forward to being an active member of this group and working to improve the foster care system for Wisconsin's children.


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


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


Best Wishes,

Jill Billings
State Representative
95th Assembly District


Budget Update

The Joint Finance Committee has not met to vote for more than a month. Unable to reach an agreement, Senate Republicans proposed their own plan last Tuesday. This plan would borrow a grand total of $712 million, with $350 million coming from general purpose revenue and $362 million from transportation revenues. The plan also eliminates the governor's proposed income tax cuts, allowing the $203.5 million to instead be used to cover the cost of repealing the personal property tax, a primary goal for Senate Republicans. The plan would also do away with Walker's tax holiday for school supplies.

The Senate Republicans' plan would not make changes to how much money the governor proposed we invest in schools, but it would raise the eligibility requirement for the statewide voucher program to 220 percent of the federal poverty level. Moreover, this plan includes $239 million to be used as reimbursements to local governments for lost revenue as a result of the proposed repeal of the abovementioned personal property tax.

According to Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, he does not currently have the necessary 17 votes to approve the new Senate budget proposal. The Senate is also refusing to take the governor's recent offer of putting the $203.5 million he had proposed go to cover income tax cuts toward road projects.

On the other hand Assembly Republicans favor the governor's proposal to redirect the income tax cut money.

As of today, passing the budget is 28 days overdue.




Environmental Legislation

Earlier this month, I co-authored a bill that would require Wisconsin to commit to standards outlined by the Paris Agreement. This legislation calls for a state-based plan to be implemented that, consistent with the Paris climate accord, would set the following goals for the state:

  • Reach peak greenhouse emission as soon as possible

  • Begin reducing greenhouse gas emission by 2020

  • By 2025, reduce Wisconsin's net greenhouse gas emission levels by 26-28 percent below the state's 2005 levels

  • Achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the current century

The plan is to be submitted to by the state legislature by the DNR by January 1 of 2020, with evaluations and revisions to be done every five years.

This bill has not only environmental but also economic implications for the state. By passing this legislation, we would be showing we welcome the economic opportunities available to global leaders in the efforts to combat climate change. It is crucial that we invest in our energy independence and build on Wisconsin's untapped renewable energy resources.

With more than 97 percent of scientists agreeing that people are the cause of climate change and that climate change is a threat to our world, the other authors and I believe this is a crucial time to take action to slow climate change and prevent further damage. Similar legislation has already passed in a number of states and territories, amounting to 32 percent of the nation's population. I hope to see Wisconsin join the leaders' ranks on this issue.



Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

The Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse, which La Crosse County Health Department Director Jennifer Rombalski and I serve on, held its most recent meeting on July 14. The meeting focused on drug trafficking, Vivitrol in community corrections, opioid abuse in tribal communities, alternative pain management and new federal rules expanding medication-assisted treatment prescribers.

On the heels of the task force meeting, Jennifer Rombalski and I co-authored a column acknowledging the progress Wisconsin is making against opioid abuse and addressing the hard work that lies ahead. You can read the entire op-ed here.




Minority Mental Health Month

The arrival of August marks the beginning of Minority Mental Health Month. It is incredibly important to recognize this month, because mental health conditions affect one in five adults in the United States, without discriminating based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender or identity. However, for members of many communities, significant barriers like additional stigma and shame, racism in treatment settings, lower quality of treatment, language barriers, and lower healthcare coverage make it much more difficult to receive quality mental health care and to reach a point of recovery. National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month was established in 2008 to help raise awareness of these disparities, and to begin to change them. Click here to learn more about getting involved with minority mental health and being an advoca




Flood Damage Resources

I hope everyone stayed safe during the storms and your property did not incur great damage from last week's heavy rain and strong winds. For those of you in flooded areas, please remember that, aside from home damage, the stagnant water post-flood can make water unsafe to drink, swim, or bathe in. 


Last week, I toured the Town of Shelby to look at the storm damage and talk to residents living in the area. As clean-up efforts get underway, the DNR provides helpful information and resources about coping with flooding, cleaning up debris, and managing private wells that have flooded.




New Tool Connects Students to Internships

Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development launched WisConnect, a user-friendly website made to help Wisconsin employers recruit college students for internship opportunities throughout our state. The website is free and open to all college students with an active .edu email address to create an account, upload their resume, and search for Wisconsin internship opportunities. WisConnect will also contain resources for employers to create an internship program and post openings, and resources for college students to learn how to search, apply, interview, and prepare for an internship position. For more information, click here.



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