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


UW - La Crosse Little Women Theatre Performance
February 28-29 and March 5-7 at 7:30pm, 
March 1 and March 8 at 2:00 pm

Toland Theatre, Center for the Arts


Joint Enforcement Task Force on Misclassification and Payroll Fraud 

Tuesday, February 25 from 10am - 12:30pm

La Crosse Public Library


 Creative Imperative Festival

Monday, March 2 - Tuesday, March 3 from 7:30am - 10pm

UW - La Crosse Campus



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

(608) 266-5780

Toll Free:
(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

The last couple weeks have been busy as the Assembly concluded legislative debate for the 2019 - 2020 session on Thursday. Although the Assembly has possible session days for the next three months, Speaker Vos has stated that he will not call a legislative session again this year. Over the past two weeks, I have participated in three legislative sessions, committee hearings, constituent meetings, the State of the Tribes address, and many other activities.



One highlight of the week is that the State Assembly voted on a number of bipartisan bills put forth by the Water Quality Task Force. This effort was spurred by Governor Evers’ call for 2019 to be “The Year of Clean Water.” I supported ten of the bipartisan bills, many of which addressed issues brought forth by western Wisconsin residents at the La Crosse listening session held in 2019. I believe these bills are a good first step to address water quality in Wisconsin. But just as the water-cycle is continuous, we must continue our diligence in protecting this vital resource.

 Please continue reading for articles on bills I authored that were recently introduced and bills that passed the Assembly, the State of the Tribes Address, Black History Month, tax season information, and Flood Insurance Week.

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 me at Rep.Billings@legis.wi.gov 


Best Wishes, 

Jill Billings
State Representative 
95th Assembly District

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Authored Bills Pass State Assembly

I am excited to share that four bills I authored with bipartisan support were passed by the State Assembly this week. Two of the bills were requests from individuals in the district. Assembly Bill 532 and Assembly Bill 713, which directly benefit the La Crosse community, passed the Assembly by a voice vote. Assembly Bill 532 serves as an economic development tool by providing an additional incentive for Wisconsin individuals to invest in opportunity zones in our state. Assembly Bill 713 has been a priority of the La Crosse County for many years. The legislation will provide the Xcel Energy/La Crosse County Waste-to-Energy facility on French Island a break from certain DNR fees. The savings will benefit the county and allow the facility to reinvest in further innovative recycling initiatives.

Assembly Bill 643 and Assembly Bill 749 make technical changes to Wisconsin’s child welfare statutes to ensure Wisconsin is federally compliant and will continue to receive federal funds for our child welfare system. Specifically AB 643 allows the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) to promulgate rules for the establishment of a Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) to meet the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) standards. Assembly Bill 749 codifies Wisconsin’s statutes to match immunity protections changed under the 2018 federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.


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Bills to Address Childcare Shortage and Assist Property Owners with Flooding Introduced

I recently introduced two bills that would provide assistance for issues impacting residents of the La Crosse area. The first bill I authored (Assembly Bill 938) works to address the childcare shortage by expanding the Teacher Loan Program to include students enrolled in an early childhood education degree program. As a member of the Committee on Children and Families, I know how important early childhood care is for the development of children, and we need to remove barriers that prevent qualified providers from entering into this field.

I also authored a bill that would assist local municipalities and home owners along the Mississippi river with shoreline erosion protection. The La Crosse area knows too well the damage caused by flooding and high water levels along the Mississippi River shoreline. This legislation would provide $2 million for a revolving loan program to assist impacted parties.


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State of the Tribes Address

On Tuesday, Forest County Potawatomi Chairman Ned Daniels, Jr. presented the annual State of the Tribes Address to the Wisconsin Legislature. Starting in 2005, the State of the Tribes address provides an opportunity for citizens, constitutional officers, members of the Supreme Court, and elected officials to better understand the issues facing our native tribes and foster collaboration between the legislature and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLTC). 

During the State of the Tribes address, Ned Daniels stressed the importance of ending the opioid epidemic for all Wisconsinites and providing culturally appropriate services to Wisconsin tribes. He echoed concerns voiced by other Wisconsin groups regarding the housing and workforce shortage and the importance of preserving Wisconsin’s natural resources for future generations. He also called upon legislators to act to end the exploitation and trafficking of native women and include them in human trafficking prevention legislation in the future.

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February is Black History Month

The month of February is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of African Americans, and the role they played in the history of the United States. The Black History Month 2020 theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” is in honor of the centennial anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) granting women’s suffrage and the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) giving black men the right to vote. 

To recognize Black History Month, I would like to take a moment to highlight the contributions of Vel Phillips, a historical African American woman who was born and raised in Wisconsin. Vel's life was a series of firsts—the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison law school, to win a seat on Milwaukee’s City Council, to become a judge in Wisconsin, and to become Secretary of State of Wisconsin. She participated in nonviolent protests against discrimination and worked to pass the Fair Housing Law in Milwaukee for six years. Vel’s long life of activism and significant contributions to the civil rights movement will be remembered in Wisconsin history.

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Wisconsin Department of Revenue Offers Various Services to Make Tax Filing Easier

This year's individual income tax filing deadline is Wednesday, April 15. The Department of Revenue (DOR) is encouraging people to utilize electronic filing software to increase security and accuracy and ensure a speedy refund. People may use the free and accurate Wisconsin e-file online tool to file their state income taxes, or they may choose to use third-party software from an approved vendor.

The Department of Revenue also provides tax assistance programs to veterans, elderly, and other disadvantaged populations. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is generally for people with income of $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance with preparing their own tax returns. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those that are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. Both programs are operated in partnership with the United State Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and TCE is also operated in conjunction with the AARP Tax-Aide Foundation. Visit the Department of Revenue website for more information about these programs.





Governor Evers Designated February 9 - 15 as Flood Insurance Week

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) urged Wisconsin residents to protect their homes and businesses from financial loss due to flooding by securing flood insurance before the snow melts and spring rainfall begins. Typically, most business and homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage from floods, and this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is anticipating spring flooding throughout Wisconsin due to melting snowpack sitting upon already saturated soil.

A flood insurance policy can provide coverage with or without a disaster declaration and can help property owners impacted by flooding recover faster. Homeowners in Wisconsin can buy a flood insurance policy through either the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance protection against losses from flooding, or through a private carrier. Consumers should contact their local insurance agent or visit http://www.floodsmart.gov for more information about these opportunities.



Rep. Billings in Madison


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 Pastor Mark Solyst, lead pastor at English Lutheran Church in La Crosse, provided the invocation prior to the Assembly session on February 20, 2020.


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 I met with owners of local breweries and wineries to learn more about issues impacting their businesses.


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  The committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention voted on bills to address the vape and opioid crisis during a recent executive session. 


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 I met with pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy students during the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin Advocacy Day Visit. 


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 It was great meeting with students from Western Technical College as part of Student Government Day.