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



The Music Man

Friday, September 8 -

Sunday, September 24

7:30 p.m. on Thurs/Fri/Sat

2 p.m. on Sunday

La Crosse Community Theater



USGS Open House

Saturday, September 9

10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

USGS Upper Midwest

Environmental Sciences Center



Airport Waffle Breakfast

Saturday, September 9

8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

La Crosse Regional Airport



Economics for Opinion Leaders: School Board Members

Thursday, September 14 -

Friday, September 15

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Charmant Hotel





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


(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095


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


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 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:

  • Repeal of remaining prevailing wage laws

  • Creating a $75 annual registration fee for hybrid vehicles and a $100 fee for electric vehicles, while failing to tax heavy trucks operating on smaller highway, which will inevitably tear up more roads

  • Prohibit local governments from enforcing any ordinances that "defeat the purpose" or "violate the spirit" of a state law

  • Authorize the Department of Transportation (DOT) to share personal information, including social security numbers, for the purpose of maintaining interstate voting records

  • Eliminate 200 DOT staff position in the next two years

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 easel.

The Commission will select one art piece and one essay from each grade. Selected art and essay pieces will be displayed on the first floor of the State Capitol building this fall from November 9 through November 30. Winning entries will be recognized by the Governor and retained by the Wisconsin Historical Society. All entries will receive a certificate acknowledging the submitted work and those not retained by the Historical Society will be returned upon request.

Contest entries will be accepted from September 1 through October 13, 2017. Please include: the participant's name and grade, name of participant's teacher and/or school, and contact information for the school.

Send submissions to:

Wisconsin State Senate
c/o Dr. Tammy Wehrle
PO Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707

For more information about the State Capitol Commemorative Commission and the Wisconsin State Capitol building, please click here.



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:

  • Baiting and feeding of deer is not permitted in counties where chronic wasting disease has been detected in deer. However, a recent law limits the amount of time that the baiting and feed bans are in effect after a deer tests positive for CDW or TB. Please click here for up-to-date information and check back frequently as the bans change often.

  • A person of any age is now able to apply for Class A bear license preference points. Hunters must be 10 years old to actually purchase the license, with the provision that a license purchased by an individual who turns 10 after the start of the bear season begins on the date of issuance.


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