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(608)266-5780 | State Capitol, Room 307 West, P.O. Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, September 8 -
Sunday, September 24
7:30 p.m. on Thurs/Fri/Sat
2 p.m. on Sunday
La Crosse Community Theater
Saturday, September 9
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
USGS Upper Midwest
Environmental Sciences Center
Saturday, September 9
8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
La Crosse Regional Airport
Thursday, September 14 -
Friday, September 15
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friends and Neighbors,
I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend. I enjoyed seeing many of you at the Labor Day Parade and at Labor Fest on Monday. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to talk to constituents about job and labor issues in the La Crosse area and across the state. This also a great opportunity to hear community members' feedback on the Foxconn bill. Many people at the that event expressed concerns over the lack of guarantees, both in terms of the money coming back to the state and labor and environmental protections.
Foxconn has a history marred with poor treatment of workers, including banning employees in their China plant from having independent trade unions. In light of Labor Day celebrating all that our workers have fought to achieve, I am greatly concerned about a company that has not proven to value collective bargaining, prevailing wage laws, and other instrumental labor protections coming to Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, despite widespread skepticism from constituents across the state, the Foxconn bill is now one step closer to making it back to the governor's desk. Please continue reading for more on Foxconn and other budget updates from the Joint Finance Committee.
As always, I would love to hear from you regarding any state matters of interest to you. 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
The Foxconn bill, which would give the Taiwanese company more than $3 billion in incentives, passed out of the Joint Committee on Finance along party lines this Tuesday, with all four Democrats on the committee voting against it. Along with the bill came the passage of several amendments, including one that will allow court cases related to the Foxconn plant to be appealed directly to the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court, skipping over the court of appeals. This special exemption undermines our court process and is only offered to this specific company, creating an uneven playing field for other Wisconsin businesses. The amended Foxconn bill will be taken up by the Assembly next Thursday, Sept. 14.
The state's transportation budget, which has proven to be the most contentious part of the budget bill, was also taken up on Tuesday. Republicans on the committee passed a transportation package including $150 million in new bonding; this -- when added to the $252.4 million in bonding supported by general purpose revenue outlined in the Foxconn bill -- amounts to a grand total of $402.4 million in new borrowing for transportation projects. In addition, the 19-page transportation motion included the following provisions:
The passage of this transportation package is disappointing to me because I do not think it accurately reflects what Wisconsin tax-payers want to see. A survey I included in my newsletter last year asked constituents how they thought Wisconsin should address our transportation budget deficit. The top answer, accounting for a quarter of the responses, was raising the gas tax, an option Gov. Walker refused to consider. Other popular choices included creating a fee based on miles driven annually and a fee based on vehicle price. What's more, a number of people chose multiple options, pointing to the need for a comprehensive strategy to tackle the deficit. I understand the aversion to increasing taxes, but am simultaneously concerned about continuing to borrow more money and delaying transportation projects further, which only raises their cost in the long run. Wisconsin cannot afford to kick the can further down our already crumbling roads.
The budget will be taken up for a vote on the Assembly floor next Wednesday, Sept. 13.
National Suicide Prevention Month
In recognition of September being National Suicide Prevention Month, the La Crosse Area Suicide Initiative has organized an event raising awareness about suicide prevention. The event will be held at Riverside Park on Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 6-7:30 p.m. Attendees can expect music by "Sometimes Two" and an information walk in the park. The event is free and open to the public.
A Suicide Prevention Summit featuring keynote speakers Dr. Alan Berman and Dr. Debra Murray will be held at the Radisson Hotel the next day, Wednesday, Sept. 20. Although the early registration period has closed, interested individuals can still register (note: higher fee; students are eligible for reduced price).
Capitol Centennial Art & Essay Contest
In celebration of this year being the Capitol Building's 100th anniversary, the Commemorative Commission is calling all artists and writers in grades K-12 to create an art piece or essay expressing the Capitol's significance to the state. The contest is open to students in both public and private schools across Wisconsin. Below are instructions from the Commission:
Essays should be no longer than
one page and either typed or legibly written. Art pieces should be
two-dimensional, made out of non-breakable material, and no larger than
24 inches by 30 inches. Art pieces must be mountable to a board or on a
canvas that is already attached to a wooden frame for display on an
DNR: Archery and Crossbow Deer Seasons Starting Soon
September 16 marks the beginning of this year's archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons. According to the DNR, deer this year should be plentiful due to our recent mild winter. This should be exciting news to hunters following a few years of no antlerless harvest.
Crossbow hunting has been increasingly popular, and seems to be especially preferred by women, as it has the highest rate of female participation than other deer hunting methods. Hunters can purchase licenses by clicking here, or by visiting any of the 1,000+ license sales locations throughout the state. You can learn more about deer hunting season here.
Please note the following recent changes in hunting regulations:
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