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


Downtown La Crosse Winter Days
Friday, February 7 - Sunday February 9
Downtown La Crosse

Galantine’s Day

Saturday, February 8 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm

La Crosse Public Library Auditorium

Wisconsin’s Gangster Past

Saturday, February 15th from 1:00 pm – 2:30pm

La Crosse Public Library Main

Children’s Dental Health Month

Sunday, February 16th from 10:00am – 12:00pm

Children's Museum of La Crosse


Wednesday, February 19th from 1:00pm – 3:00pm

(1st and 3rd Wednesdays)

La Crosse Public Library



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

(608) 266-5780

Toll Free:
(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

It it has been another busy past couple weeks in the Capitol with constituent lobby days, committee hearings, testimony on authored bills, American Heart Month, and many other activities.

Last weekend, I made a trip Austin, Texas to attend a Prenatal-to-Three Policy Symposium hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures. I was honored to be selected to attend this event with 12 other legislators from across the nation. At the symposium, I developed a deeper understanding of prenatal-to-three issues, child development, and funding strategies to improve outcomes of children and families. I am energized to use this knowledge to provide support and drive policy going forward.

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Yesterday, Governor Evers announced that he will be calling a special session on education to put nearly $400 million dollars back into local schools. Governor Evers’ plan includes investing $250 million in special education and school-based mental health services, $130 million in equalization aid, and $10 million in sparsity aid. Our communities recognize that students deserves access to high-quality, public education regardless of their age, identity, background, economic status, or zip code. Since 2011, nearly one million Wisconsinites have voted to raise their own taxes to support their local schools, including several school districts in La Crosse County. The $400 million state-level funding increase will renew the state’s promise to provide two-thirds of funding for K-12 education in Wisconsin. This necessary investment in our schools would be funded by a projected revenue surplus of $812.2 million through mid-2021.

 Please continue reading for more information about the executive orders and bills released by Governor Evers that advance the initiatives he announced during the State of the State Address, a bill to incentivize development in La Crosse, and strategies to reduce the risk of heart disease.

 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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Opportunity Zone Bill to Incentivize Development in La Crosse Area Received Public Hearings

I authored Assembly Bill 532 (AB 532) to encourage economic development in Wisconsin Opportunity Zones. The opportunity zone program was enacted as part of the federal tax reform bill passed in 2017. It serves as a local economic development tool, by spurring job creation and development in economically depressed areas by incentivizing private investment. In 2018, following the passage of the federal tax reform bill, states nominated census tracts to be designated as qualified opportunity zones. There are two qualified opportunity zones in La Crosse—the Lower North Side neighborhood and the college-housing area between West Avenue and 7th Street from Zeisler to Jackson Street. 

 Assembly Bill 532 expands savings for Wisconsin investors and taxpayers who fund Wisconsin projects. The legislation doubles the state tax incentives if the investments are held in a Wisconsin qualified opportunity fund. This encourages state investors to keep their dollars local and spur economic development and job creation in Wisconsin communities. The Senate Committee recommended this bill for passage yesterday, and AB 532 is now awaiting to be voted on by the Assembly Committee.

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Governor Evers Called a Special Session to Address the Growing Farm Crisis

During the 2020 State of the State Address, Governor Evers called a special session to address the farm crisis in Wisconsin. Farmers have supported our state for generations and are the backbone of our economy. Wisconsin produced 14% of the nation’s milk in 2018 and leads the nation in cheese production. However, our state’s long-standing title of “America’s Dairyland” has been challenged in recent years. Wisconsin leads the nation in farm bankruptcies, and last year, we lost more than 2 dairy farms a day.

Governor Evers unveiled a legislative package that works to provide the necessary support and investments to our farmers and the agriculture industry. Legislation in this package includes: strengthening the Farm-to-School program, expanding Wisconsin’s dairy exports to the global market, increasing access to mental health services, providing small farm diversity grants, and other initiatives.

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Governor Evers Announced the People’s Map Commission to Draw Nonpartisan Redistricting Maps

Governor Evers recently issued Executive Order #66 which creates a People’s Map Commission. The Commission will be charged with drawing new, nonpartisan legislative and congressional maps. The maps will then be presented to the full Legislature for consideration after completion of the 2020 Census. I have long been a proponent of reforming Wisconsin’s redistricting rules, as I believe that voters should choose their elected officials, and not the other way around, and I will continue to advocate for nonpartisan redistricting policies.

 Fifty counties representing 78% of Wisconsinites have passed resolutions supporting nonpartisan redistricting. It has been clear since 2017 – when a U.S. District Court declared that Republican gerrymandering in Wisconsin is unconstitutional – that our state needs a nonpartisan and transparent process for re-drawing electoral maps. In the 2018 elections, Democrats won every statewide race in Wisconsin, but blatant gerrymandering retained a nearly two-thirds majority for Republicans in the legislature. This most recent election as well as those held in previous sessions have shown that the current electoral maps were not drawn to honor the will of the people, but to ensure Republican power in the legislature despite it.

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Initiatives to Increase College Accessibility and Address Growing Student Debt Problem Introduced

Last Monday, Governor Evers issued Executive Order #67 to create the Governor’s Task Force on Student Debt, an initiative he introduced during his State of the State Address. The task force will assess the causes and challenges of student debt, evaluate the effectiveness of current policies relating to student debt, research best practices on reducing the burden of student debt, and provide recommendations to the state to prevent excessive student debt.

 A recent study by the Institute for College Access and Success found that 64% of Wisconsin college students graduated with debt averaging $31,705 in 2018. Student loan debt disproportionately affects students of color, low-income students, first-generation college students, women, veterans, and seniors. I support Governor Evers’ actions to address college affordability and ensure that a great education at our technical colleges, two-year universities, and four-year universities is attainable for all Wisconsin students and families.

 Further, I have co-sponsored legislation that would allow a person to exclude payments used to pay principal and interest on qualified education loans or certain costs related to certified apprenticeship programs from a federal 529 plan, including EdVest in Wisconsin.


February is American Heart Month

My colleagues and I wore red to recognize February as American Heart Month and raise awareness about heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States; however, small lifestyle changes can greatly reduce a person’s risk of heart disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends taking the following actions to improve heart health:

  1. Stay active and eat healthy
  2. Control cholesterol and blood pressure levels
  3. Consume alcohol in moderation
  4. Quit smoking and limit exposure to secondhand smoke

To learn more about the risk factors of heart disease and other preventive steps that can be taken to combat heart disease, I encourage you to check out the Heart Disease webpage created by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

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Rep. Billings in Madison and La Crosse 

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I enjoyed meeting with area doctors to hear about health challenges facing the La Crosse community.

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I attended the Women Who Raise the Bar event hosted by Wisconsin Women in Government with my friend and Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, Rebecca Dallet.

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My colleagues and I spoke with a group of local realtors.  

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I met with Wisconsin Conservation Voters about environmental issues impacting the La Crosse area

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  I provided information about the legislative process to a local boy scout group during the Merit Badge Fair at Western Technical College.