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



UW-L Art Gallery Opening

Friday, November 3

4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

UW-L Center for Fine Arts, Rm 100



Dark La Crosse Radio Show

Saturday, November 4 @ 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 5 @ 2 p.m.

Pump House Regional Arts Center



The Price is Right Live!

Wednesday, November 8

7:30 p.m.

La Crosse Center



Holiday Fair

Thursday, Nov. 16 & Friday Nov. 17 @ 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 18 @ 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 19 @ 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

La Crosse Center





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


(608) 266-5780
Toll Free:

(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,


The past couple of weeks have been busy, as standing committees have been meeting regularly to hear and vote on pending legislation before the end of the year. As a result of bills passing out of committee, we were called into session this week to vote on a number of bills, the most controversial of which included changing the training requirements for certified nursing assistants, restricting Group Insurance Board health coverage for abortions and lifting mining regulations. For more detailed information on these bills and their implications, please continue reading.


Next week, the Assembly will again convene on the floor on Nov. 7 and Nov. 9 for what will be this calendar year's last session days. All bills passed by both legislative houses so far will need to be sent to the governor by December 7 in order to be signed by the end of 2017. Next week's calendar has not yet been finalized and, at this time, there are no highly controversial bills scheduled, but I will be sure to update you with the outcomes of that session in my next newsletter.


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



Opioid Task Force Update

Today, the Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse, on which I serve, met at UW Hospital to learn about treatment that is assisted by medication and improving prescribing practices by Wisconsin doctors. Moreover, we received updates on efforts to provide better pain management training and treatment; the good news is that this training has resulted in patient satisfaction going up, while opioid use has gone down. That said, out of Wisconsin's 5.8 million people, about 10 percent have a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, we do not currently have the sufficient counseling workforce to tackle this challenge. In fact, 55 percent of Wisconsin's substance abuse counselors are 51 years old and older. Moving forward, we will propose initiatives to address this shortage. As our package of initiatives is finalized, I will provide updated information in December's newsletter.



Controversial Assembly Bills

AB 432 - Reducing the required instructional hours for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)

  • This bill would align the state requirements for CNA credentialing with the federal requirements. Currently, Wisconsin requires the successful completion of 120 classroom hours and 32 clinical hours, while the federal regulation requires only 75 classroom hours and 16 clinical hours. Supporters of the bill pointed to the fact that this legislation would make it easier to license nurse aids, helping close Wisconsin's shortage of CNAs. On the other hand, opponents, who include the AARP, Disability Rights Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Coalition of Independent Living Centers, said the federal training hour requirements are not long enough to gain the necessary skills to care for patients and clients.

AB 128 - Prohibiting the Group Insurance Board from covering abortion

  • This bill would ban state employee health insurance from covering abortions. Democrats offered several amendments in an attempt to mitigate the effects of this bill. One of these amendments would have cleared up ambiguity about the definition of abortion used by the bill, adding that the use of contraception does not constitute an abortion. Another amendment would have removed the requirement that a woman report a sexual assault to law enforcement before she can be covered. As the bill stands, women who are victims of rape or incest will only be exempt from the insurance coverage prohibition if they have filed a report with the police; this is a harmful provision because sexual assault is severely underreported, and not all women are in a position where they can report. Both amendments were voted down by Republicans.

AB 499 - Lifting Wisconsin's Mining Moratorium

  • This bill would remove the "Prove It First" mining moratorium, which currently requires companies to prove that an open pit sulfide mine has been operating for at least 10 years anywhere in the United States or Canada without polluting the environment. Since the moratorium was implemented almost two decades ago, there has not been a single example of an open pit sulfide mine that has not polluted the environment. The "Prove It First" regulation was the result of a 1998 bipartisan bill, which then-State Representative Scott Walker supported.

The majority of my Democratic colleagues and I voted against these bills, but they nevertheless passed the Assembly and have been sent to the Senate. Please let me know if you have any questions about these or other pieces of legislation regarding taken up by the Assembly.



Coulee Council on Addictions Celebrates Groundbreaking

Last week, I attend the Coulee Council on Addictions new building groundbreaking. Located on Ferry Street, the building is slated to open next year as the Council celebrates its 50th anniversary. This organization, which was founded in 1968, works to help individuals and families struggling with the detrimental effects of addiction. The Council helps individuals in recovery, as well as works to educate people about addiction and prevention. By fighting to lift the stigma associated with addiction, this organization strives to be a resource for anyone in our community who needs services and support. The Council's efforts are especially important now, as Wisconsin tries to combat the opioid epidemic. You can learn more about the Council's work and mission here.




Mississippi River Parkway Commission

The Wisconsin Mississippi River Parkway Commission met last week to discuss future efforts to promote the Great River Road. We worked with a facilitator to brainstorm and develop strategies for bolstering interest in our portion of the scenic byway.

Being a member of this commission ties together my work on the Tourism Committee and my interest in advocating for our corner of the state. I look forward to continued efforts to share the Great River Road and our area with people from the rest of Wisconsin and the country.

(My nephew's Flat Stanley also made an appearance at the meeting!)




DNR Update

Before heading into the woods this deer hunting season, the Department of Natural Resources recommends that hunters ensure proper registration by checking out the online deer zone and management unit map, found here. The DNR has also requests that all deer hunters participate in the annual Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey. The department uses the information from this survey to help track population trends for deer and other wildlife. For more information about this deer hunting season, click here.

Additionally, the DNR has launched its Wild Wisconsin webpage. Featuring videos and podcasts, this is a great resource for beginner and expert hunters alike. To see all Wild Wisconsin has to offer, click here.

The DNR also offers numerous events at our state's parks, forests and recreation areas. Perfect for a weekend or day trip, these art projects, nature walks and educational opportunities are a great way to experience fall in our beautiful state. To find a list of these events, click here.



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