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

(608) 266-5780

Toll Free:
(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

As promised, this is another special edition of my e-newsletter to highlight significant provisions included in Governor Evers’ 2021-23 biennial budget proposal. This e-newsletter outlines provisions that work to maintain and improve our state’s education, healthcare, and justice systems. 

I am also pleased to see the significant investments made in our state’s early childhood education programming. During my meetings with the Governor last fall, I advocated for several of these initiatives that support Wisconsin kids and early childhood education programming. We know that the first few years of a child’s life are critical for their future as that is when most brain development occurs. These simple investments have great potential to leave lasting impacts on our state’s future. You can read a recent column I penned about the importance of early childhood education investments here

I encourage you to share your thoughts on the Governor’s budget with members of the Joint Finance Committee (JFC). The JFC recently developed a dedicated email address for public input only: budget.comments@legis.wisconsin.gov. As you may recall, the JFC is also hosting a virtual public hearing on April 28 to hear comments from the public; however, due to the high demand of this event, registration was closed just 20 minutes after it began as participation limits were reached. Democratic members of the JFC have requested an additional virtual hearing to accommodate for the high demand from the public to safely participate in the state budget process. Stay tuned to my Facebook page and upcoming e-newsletters for further developments on the status of an additional virtual hearing. 

Please continue reading to learn more about the Governor’s budget proposal as well as his recent stops in the Coulee Region to promote TAD and PFAS funding. 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns by calling (608) 266-5780 or emailing me at Rep.Billings@legis.wi.gov.

Best Wishes, 

Jill Billings
State Representative 
95th Assembly District

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Governor Evers Promotes TAD and PFAS Funding in La Crosse

Governor Evers visited La Crosse on April 15 to highlight another significant area of his budget—Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) programming. TAD programs help justice-involved individuals avoid jail time by connecting them with substance abuse treatment and other risk reduction services. TAD programs have been proven to be more effective at reducing recidivism, which creates a better community for everyone. The Governor’s budget provides more than $15 million to expand TAD programming in our state.



On April 21, Governor Evers visited the F.J. Robers Library in the Town of Campbell to discuss legislation and budget items that work to address PFAS in our community and in our state. As I’m sure you know, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) are providing bottled water to residents of French Island with private drinking wells that may be contaminated with harmful “forever chemicals.” Everyone should have equal access to clean drinking water, and that is why I continue working to strengthen clean water protections and ensure the long-term sustainability of Wisconsin’s waterways.

I am a cosponsor of the Chemical Level Enforcement and Remediation Act (CLEAR Act), and I also am a vocal proponent of the numerous provisions in the Governor’s budget that work to ensure safe drinking water for all. If enacted the Governor’s budget would:

  1. Create a municipal grant program for the testing and remediation of PFAS by local units of government 
  2. Provide $2 million for statewide monitoring and testing
  3. Provide $2 million for collection and disposal of firefighting foam that contains PFA
  4. Establish and enforce various environmental standards for PFAS  

The CLEAR Act is one of the most comprehensive PFAS bills in the nation and builds upon the provisions included in the Governor’s budget. The CLEAR Act would also:

  1. Prohibit food packaging that contains intentionally added PFAS by 2025
  2. Create a county well testing grant program
  3. Create an option for DNR to appoint a neutral, third-party mediator to help negotiate between municipalities and responsible parties when PFAS contamination occurs.
I encourage you to advocate for the budget provisions by using the email address provided above, and I can assure you that I will continue working to ensure that every Wisconsinite has access to clean and potable water.


The Governor’s budget invests in Wisconsin’s children by providing high-quality education from early childhood programs to higher education. Governor Evers recognizes that birth to age five is the most critical time in a child's development which is why his proposal includes significant investments in our early childhood education. In addition, the Governor’s budget restores the state's historic two-thirds funding commitment for K-12 public schools beginning in fiscal year 2021-22, which was once a bipartisan achievement to maintain. Lastly, the Governor’s investment in higher education is an investment in our economy as it provides an opportunity for students to further develop their education and skills and provides employers with access to a skilled and educated workforce.

Early Childhood Education

  1. Invest in the Child Care Strong initiative to increase access to childcare for all families, including those living in childcare deserts 
  2. Provide $500,000 each year to expand the REWARD program, which provides stipends for child care professionals based on educational attainment and longevity in the field.
  3. Allocate over $3 million within the 2 fiscal years for early childhood social emotional training and technical assistance to reduce instances of child removal from daycare for behavioral issues

K-12 Education

  1. Provide $612.8 million in state general aid to school districts (largest increase since 2005)
  2. Increase revenue limit equity for low-spending school districts by increasing the low revenue ceiling which would help an estimated 140 low-spending districts
  3. Increase funding by almost $50 million over 2 years for school mental health aid
  4. Increase funding by over $60 million over 2 years to fund per pupil payments which will help to increase equity in school funding
  5. Support the unique needs of rural schools by providing around $10 million in each fiscal year for sparsity aid
  6. Increase high cost special education aid by nearly $10 million over the two years to support students with the greatest needs

Higher Education

  1. Fully fund the tuition freeze for UW System institutions ($50 million over biennium)
  2. Invests in the UW System & Technical College System: $190 million increase in funding over the biennium, including; 
    1. $20 million in unrestricted aid to address UW operational costs, including COVID-19 related costs
    2. $36 million increase for the Wisconsin Technical College System
  3. Increase funding for need-based financial aid in the Wisconsin Grants program to improve affordability for students seeking higher education
  4. Expand Bucky’s Tuition Promise to provide 4 years of free tuition to students with family income less than $60,000 who wish to attend any UW System campus
  5. Invest $5 million to support improved student health services related to mental and behavioral health
  6. Develop a baccalaureate degree program for incarcerated individuals


The Governor is committed to expanding access to healthcare. Access to quality, affordable health care should be a right to all Wisconsinites, not just a privilege for the healthy and wealthy. Too often, Wisconsin’s most vulnerable  have to choose between quality healthcare coverage and paying bills, putting food on the table, or child care. To begin addressing this disparity, Governor Evers proposes expanding BadgerCare to 138 percent of the federal poverty level so that one illness or accident will not devastate a family financially. It is estimated that over 90,000 Wisconsinites would gain access to affordable health care coverage if BadgerCare is expanded. We must take these necessary steps to ensure Wisconsin families have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.

Medicaid and BadgerCare

  1. Expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act and repeal the federal waiver to cover childless adults. 
  2. Require health insurance providers to guarantee health insurance to individuals that apply regardless of preexisting conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, health status, or medical history

Prescription Drug Affordability

  1. Regulate pharmacy benefit managers, administration organizations, sales representatives, and other entities involved in the prescription drug supply chain
  2. Establish the Office of Prescription Drug Affordability to oversee the prescription drug regulatory provisions in the budget
  3. Set the maximum copay for a month’s supply of insulin to $50 and establish an Insulin Safety Net Program
  4. Develop a pharmacy benefit tool to allow doctors and patients to see the out-of-pocket costs of prescription drugs prior to prescribing

Mental Health

  1. Establish two regional crisis centers that can provide inpatient services across the state
  2. Increase in-state support to counties and municipalities for local mental health treatment and responses, including improved law enforcement responses
  3. Increase funding for mental health programs with a focus on veterans and farmers.

Public Safety and Criminal Justice 

The Governor’s budget aims to address a critical issue across the nation: justice reform. The budget addresses juvenile justice reform, corrections reform, and law enforcement reform. Governor Evers recognizes that Wisconsin has an opportunity to fundamentally reform the criminal justice system by using evidence-based practices that reduce rates of recidivism and are more just and equitable.

Gun Safety

  1. Require universal background checks for all firearm transfers
  2. Create an extreme risk protection injunction where a court, after a hearing, may order an individual to refrain from possessing a firearm if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that they are substantially likely to injure themselves or another by possessing a firearm 
  3. Create a grant violence interruption grant program to support community organizations that use evidence-based strategies to mediate conflicts, prevent retaliation, and connect individuals to community support

Corrections and Treatment Alternatives

  1. Invest $280,000 in each year of the biennium to create a program that expands the capacity of behavioral crisis lines which provides an alternative to 9-1-1 for nonemergency behavioral health issues
  2. Expand the earned release program to include educational, vocational, and treatment that are evidence-based to reduce recidivism
  3. Legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use if it is sold by a permit-holding retailer and direct 60% of the excise tax to a newly created Community Reinvestment Fund to support programs that improve social equity, aid underserved communities, and support sparsity aid

Juvenile Justice System

  1. Return 17 year olds to the Juvenile system (Wisconsin, Texas, and Georgia are the only states in America that treat all 17-year-olds as adults)
  2. Eliminate Life Without the Possibility of Parole for juveniles
  3. Modernize the Juvenile Justice code by eliminating the Serious Juvenile Offender program and making several changes to how juveniles are adjudicated

Law Enforcement Reform

  1. Enhance law enforcement accountability and transparency by setting specific standards in use of force policies, annual training on use of force and de-escalation tactics, and use of force reporting
  2. Provide nearly $300,000 in the biennium to create law enforcement officer training positions that focus on implicit bias training, emergency detention, and officer wellness
  3. Prohibit no-knock search warrants
  4. Allocate funding to purchase body-worn cameras for state police officers and pay for the storage of data.
  5. Establish statutory procedures for processing and storing sexual assault kit