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



The Enchanted Forest

Saturday, October 21

10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Myrick Park Center



Coulee Reading Center's Third Annual Literacy Blast

Saturday, October 21

5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Java Vino



La Crosse Toastmasters

Tuesday, October 24

7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

La Crosse County Administrative Building



"America" Steamboat Visit

Thursday, October 26 -

All day

Riverside Park



Boo-Seum Halloween Party

Friday, October 27

5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Children's Museum of La Crosse





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


(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,


After a successful hearing on the Sexually Exploited Children Protection Act last week, I had the opportunity to see some familiar La Crosse faces when area delegates came to Madison to advocate on behalf of the Coulee region. Oktoberfest in the Capitol is always one of my favorite events of the year, and it was great to see the Oktoberfest Royal Family and representatives from the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce.


I spent the latter half of this week at a conference on child welfare and the courts.  The conference covered topics including the effects of contact with the criminal justice system on young people, the transition to adulthood, implicit biases and innovative solutions. The information I learned at this conference directly ties back to the work I'm doing as co-chair of the Children's Caucus and a member of the Speaker's Task Force on Foster Care and the Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse.


Looking ahead to next week, I will have a number of committee meetings in the Capitol, which you can read about further down. The Task Force on Foster Care will also be meeting, and I look forward to taking what I learned this week with me, as well as hearing insights on how we can improve the system from those most closely involved with it.


A number of  you have already requested your copy of this session's Blue Book, which you should be receiving in the mail soon. Those of you who would still like to request a copy should respond to this email with your name and mailing address, or click here to fill out a request form.


As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns. You can 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



Oktoberfest in the Capitol




Paid Family Medical Leave Legislation

A number of you have already contacted me in opposition to a bill currently being circulated (LRB-2015), which would align Wisconsin's family and medical leave laws with those on the federal level. I am opposed to this bill because the federal laws are weaker than our state's and would water down the family and medical leave system we have in place.

Instead of supporting this bill, which would set up an anemic leave system in Wisconsin, I am a co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 286/Senate Bill 215. The latter legislation would put families first by allowing eligible employees to take leave to care for grandparents, grandchildren and siblings, in addition to the immediate family members already covered. This bill would also increase the number of Wisconsin workers covered by a paid family leave program.

I believe this is an incredibly important issue that must be decided with input from constituents. In response to LRB-2015 being pushed through, a letter was sent urging the committee chair to which AB 286 was referred to give the bill a public hearing; that way, those most immediately affected can voice their positions on which version of family and medical leave law they would prefer to see implemented. Currently, the bill has not been scheduled for a hearing.

Last week, I delivered the Democrats' weekly address, where I stressed the importance of passing legislation like a sensible paid family leave bill, which would help hard-working Wisconsin families. You can watch my address here.

I would encourage you to reach out to me with any questions and concerns regarding this incredibly important developing issue. Additionally, specific bills and broader issue areas can always be tracked via the state legislature's free email notification system. If you are interested in learning more or signing up, click here.




Upcoming Committees

The following three committees will all be meeting on Wednesday of this week. Below is a brief outline of the bills that will be up for a hearing or a vote.

Committee on Workforce Development

  • The committee will be voting on AB 422, which would create a Hire Heroes program to provide transitional jobs to veterans.

  • The committee will also be hearing AB 508, which would set the ratio of apprentices to journeymen at 1:1, which is higher than it is now and is expected to raise the number of apprenticeships available.

  • Finally, the committee will hear AB 124, under which the UW System would partner with the Department of Workforce Development to share apprenticeship and vocational training information with former students who attended but did not graduate from a four- or two-year UW institution.

Committee on Transportation

  • A vote will be taken on AB 621, which would allow for an unobstructed freight route for high-wide loads to operate on leading to the Port of Milwaukee.

  • The committee will hear AB 546, which would adjust the current minimum insurance requirements for a passenger carrying vehicles operating within the state of Wisconsin.

  • The committee will hear AB 485, which would give local officials the power to decide whether to allow UTVs and ATVs to operate on state highways contained within their municipality that have a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

  • The committee will hear AB 339, which would make adjustments to the laws related to motor vehicles being obtained by scrap metal dealers and salvage dealers.

  • The committee will hear AB 475, which would require animal-drawn vehicle to be equipped with two flashing amber (or yellow) lights affixed to the back of the vehicle which would be on when operating during delineated "hours of darkness" and in inclement weather. The current requirement to be equipped with two additional solid red lights will remain in place.


Committee on Colleges and Universities

  • The committee will vote on AB 512, which would ensure that veterans seeking higher education will be reimbursed for tuition regardless of the cost of the program; currently some academic programs cost more and it is unclear whether the differential is covered.

  • The committee will also hear AB 540, which would establish industry-specific materials on the recognition and prevention of human trafficking that will be used in commercial truck driver education courses.

As always, if you have any questions on these or other bills, please do not hesitate to contact me.



National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This week I had the pleasure of attending Gundersen Health System's National Disability Employment Awareness Month celebration. There I met with a number of people participating in the Project Search program, which provides participants with an internship placement, as well as  with training on obtaining and maintaining a job and working independently, with or without assistive technology. Two of the interns I talked to worked in the security department and the pharmacy department at Gundersen Health System.




Governor's Trailblazer Awards

The Wisconsin Women's Council is looking for women business owners to be nominated for the 2018 Governor's Trailblazer Awards. There are three awards for female business owners can be nominated: the Pioneer Award, the Thrive Award and the Torchbearer Award. These awards shine a spotlight on pioneering women business owners and the invaluable contributions their businesses have on Wisconsin's economy. Show your support for La Crosse's women business owners by submitting a nomination by December 31, 2017. For more information and to submit a nomination, click here.




DNR Update:

In La Crosse, there is a lot of fun to be had outdoors, from skiing to hiking to cruising along the Mississippi River. To examine current outdoor-based recreational opportunities and evaluate future recreation needs, the Department of Natural Resources will be hosting a public open house for their Recreation Opportunities Analysis (ROA). The open house will be held on Wednesday, October 25 from 4-7 p.m. at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you may either submit a questionnaire online or mail in a hard copy to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. For more information and access to both the online and paper questionnaires, click here.



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