NS Banner

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


Moon Tunes
Thursday Evenings
Riverside Park


June 8
Pump House Regional Arts Center

First Fridays

First Friday of Each Month
Downtown La Crosse

Pop-Up Library Day

June 14
Erickson Pool


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

(608) 266-5780

Toll Free:
(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,


Over the course of the past two weeks, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has continued to hold executive sessions on the state budget. The committee has started to vote on a few of the larger state budget issues including K-12 and UW-System funding.

The Republican majority on the JFC made drastic cuts to both K-12 and higher education funding. Governor Evers’ is known for saying “What’s good for kids, is good for Wisconsin”. He backed this claim by providing necessary funding increases for both our K-12 schools and public universities in his budget. The Governor’s K-12 budget made direct investments in our students (regardless of zip code) and raised the reimbursement rate for special education by 60%--an initiative that is supported by 74% of Wisconsinites. Check out this map to see how much Governor Evers’ special education budget would have invested in each school district across the state. However, the GOP led Joint Finance committee ditched the Governor’s proposal and moved forward a plan that invests approximately $900M less in our public schools.

The Republican’s on the JFC took a similar stance on funding Wisconsin’s university system, voting to cut the proposed UW-System budget in half. The tuition freeze that Gov. Evers proposed did earn the support of the committee, but the drastic cut will impact our kids on campus and our communities. By not even providing enough to UW-System to cover inflationary costs, it will make it more difficult for students to graduate on time, especially in high demand fields. The return on investment in our university system is $23. For a community like ours that investment pays huge dividends and is an investment needed for the future of our state.

Keep reading to find out more about the clean water initiatives removed from the budget, and some non-budget features on the La Crosse River Marsh, Wisconsin Bike Week, and the DNR’s annual Free Fun Weekend. As always please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. You can always contact my office by calling (608) 266-5780 or emailing Rep.Billings@legis.wisconsin.gov.


Best Wishes, 

Jill Billings
State Representative 
95th Assembly District

NS Facebook.pngNS Twitter.pngNS Website.png
$43 Million Cut from "Year of Clean Water" Initiatives


Concerns about the safety of our state water systems, including drinking and surface water, is one of the issues I am contacted most about from constituents. Which is why I was pleased when Governor Evers’ took a bold stance earlier this year declaring 2019 “The Year of Clean Water”. His budget included a number of initiatives to address water quality issues in our state including additional staff to oversee CAFO permits, increased eligibility for the well compensation fund, and the creation of the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy.

But, as reported in the La Crosse Tribune earlier this week, $43 million from the “Year of Clean Water” programs was cut in the Republican proposal that moved forward on Tuesday.

Everyone in Wisconsin deserves access to clean water and to feel safe drinking the water in their home. Yet, we have cases--right here in La Crosse County--of water being tested high for nitrates. Nearly half of the private wells that 1.7 million Wisconsin residents rely on, do not meet acceptable health standards, The time to act is now with sound scientific analysis, comprehensive solutions and necessary resources.


Water Quality.png


Highlighting the La Crosse River Marsh

As water quality was debated in JFC this week, I also thought a lot about the importance of the La Crosse River Marsh as a crucial piece of our local ecosystem. May was American Wetlands Month, and the Wisconsin Wetlands Association featured several videos on their website in celebration.

One of their six featured videos is a piece they produced late last summer, featuring the La Crosse River Marsh and our local Friends of the Marsh organization. The video highlights the importance of the area within our city, as well as the ongoing conservation and protection efforts deployed by our local elected officials and advocacy groups. As the video outlines, the La Crosse River Marsh provides needed sanctuary to wildlife, offers protections to La Crosse against flooding, and is a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors right here in our own backyard.

Check out the video and let it inspire you to head on down to the La Crosse River Marsh.


LAX River Marsh.png


National Bike Month & Wisconsin Bike Week


WI Bike Week.png


The end of May also marks the end of National Bike Month. In La Crosse, our county and community partners worked diligently not only to encourage their neighbors to step out of their cars and onto their bicycles, but also to educate more than 1,000 students about helmet safety, offering fittings to students throughout our region.

The County also hosted Bike to School Day events, including a bike handling event for middle school students to help students refine their handling skills before summer begins. Thank you to Health Educator Rebecca Lakowske and the entire La Crosse County Health Department for taking this opportunity to engage with our young people and encourage their health and safety.  

If you missed out on these festivities, don’t fret. The first week of June is Wisconsin Bike Week, and there are plenty of events in La Crosse in the coming days. From June 3-9 you can bike to Global Grounds, Bean Juice, People's Food Co-op, Cabin Coffee, Gundersen Health System Bistro, Grounded Patio Cafe, MOKA, Coulee Bicycle Co., Jules Coffee, The Pearl Coffee House, River Rocks, Dim Sum Tea Shop for a free coffee or for their Wisconsin Bike Week drink special. In addition to the coffee trail, there are 10 additional events in our area, ranging from a Ride with the Mayor, a beginner ride, a bicycle scavenger hunt and more. Find an event that looks fun to you, and take the opportunity to tune up your bike as we ride into summer. Happy trails!


DNR Free Fun Weekend


If you don’t have any plans this weekend, consider participating in the DNR’s Free Fun Weekend on June 1st and 2nd. All visitors to Wisconsin state parks and forests can visit for free. This includes free access to state public ATV trails, bike trails, and no license is needed to fish on any waters. So grab your hiking shoes, fishing pole or bike and enjoy the beauty our state parks have to offer.


Free Fun Weekend.png


Celebrating Wisconsin's 170th Birthday with Euchre


Wisconsin became a state on May 28th, 1848. I celebrated our statehood with Governor Evers, the First Lady and legislative colleagues with a classic Wisconsin pastime--a Euchre tournament.


052919 Governor's Euchre Party #15.png
Celebrating Wisconsin statehood with First Lady Kathy Evers.


052919 Governor's Euchre Party #16.png
Getting competitive playing euchre with Rep. Dave Considine and Rep. Sheila Stubbs.