NS Banner

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


Monday Night at the Movies

Mondays, 6:00-8:00 p.m. 

La Crosse Public Library


Wednesday, July 3rd, 10:30 a.m. - Saturday, July 6th, 9:45 p.m.

Riverside Park

 Fireworks at 10:00 p.m. on the 4th and 9:45 p.m. on the 6th 

Moon Tunes

July 11th, 5:30-8:00 p.m. 

Riverside Park

UW-La Crosse Department of Theatre Arts presents:

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

June 28-29 at 7:30 p.m., June 30 at 2:00 p.m.

Toland Theatre, 333 N 16th Street


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

(608) 266-5780

Toll Free:
(888) 534-0095


Friends and Neighbors,

The official start of summer coincided with an increasingly busy past couple weeks in the Legislature, as we work to complete the 2019-21 budget. This week, the budget bill moved for final action by the Legislature. Following the Assembly and Senate’s passage of the budget, it goes to the Governor’s desk for his review. After reviewing the budget in its entirety, the Governor will make his decision based on whether the final bill reflects the wants and needs of the people of Wisconsin. Thank you to all those who have shared their thoughts with me on the state’s budget by attending my public hearings or submitting written comments to my office.

Budget Timeline 6.28.19.jpg


Keep reading to learn more details about the budget, the role of the Governor’s veto authority, and last week’s Water Quality Task Force public hearing. 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

NS Facebook.pngNS Twitter.pngNS Website.png
The 2019-21 Budget

On Tuesday, the Republicans passed their version of the state budget in the Legislature. The original budget created by Governor Evers was carefully crafted with the input of the people of Wisconsin, through numerous listening sessions, emails, and calls. Unfortunately, the budget passed by Republicans falls short of the Governor’s plan.

Here are the some of the priority areas that the budget is focused on, and how the Republicans’ budget that moved forward this week differs from the Governor’s budget:

Health care: Accepting Medicaid expansion was the linchpin of Governor Evers’ budget—and it’s what 70% of Wisconsin citizens support. By expanding Medicaid and bringing our federal tax dollars back to Wisconsin, Governor Evers was able to leverage federal dollars to support health care initiatives—leaving more state tax dollars to support our schools, universities and roads. Medicaid expansion would bring in $1.6 billion in new federal investment and save $324.5 million in state dollars. La Crosse County would have seen an increase of $53 million in new investment and would have been able to provide health care to more than 1,300 people. The Republican plan that moved forward rejected Medicaid expansion. Instead their plan spends an additional $300 million in state taxpayer dollars and rejects over $1 billion in federal dollars for Wisconsin.

Transportation: After years of neglect, it comes as no surprise to Wisconsin drivers that our roads rank as some of the worst in the nation. Governor Evers’ long-term transportation solution addressed the desperate need for repairs without disproportionately punishing locals, as drivers from states like Minnesota and Illinois are also responsible for the wear and tear on our roads. A small increase in the gas tax – less than a dime – would ensure that all drivers using Wisconsin’s roads are contributing fairly to their upkeep. Instead, Republicans chose to significantly increase title and registration fees on only Wisconsin drivers, including an increase of title fees by $95 and automobile registration fees by $10 from $75 to $85, for a total fee revenue increase of nearly $400 million. It transfers $177 million in GPR to the transportation fund, including a one-time use of $90 million in budget surplus funds for local roads improvements. This plan is a one-time solution, rather than a continuous long-term investment in our roads.

Education: The Governor believes in heavily investing in Wisconsin’s children, as “what’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state.” His budget proposed to invest in our public schools and historic levels of special education funding. In La Crosse, 14.2% of children qualify for special education funding. The Republican budget fails to invest the needed dollars in special education, providing $509 million less than the Governor. The La Crosse School District would have received nearly $5 million more in special education funding under the Governor’s plan. Further, the Republican proposal failed to follow the recommendations set forth by their own Blue Ribbon Commission on Education.

A similar stance was taken on higher education, with Republicans cutting the proposed UW-System budget in half. Our universities are a huge economic engine for the state, and create a talent pipeline. The economic investment in Wisconsin’s universities is 23:1, with a total impact of $24 billion on the state. Funding for the UW-System is funding for our future workforce.


medicaid graphic 6.28.19.png



The Governor's Veto

Now that the Legislature has passed the budget, it will go to the desk of Governor Evers, where once he receives the bill, he will have six business days to either sign, veto, or partially veto the bill. Wisconsin’s governor has one of the most powerful (and unique) veto authorities in the nation, but what does that really mean in practice? And what exactly is ‘partial veto’ power? I think these three articles provide a great explanation of the veto process and power. Take a moment to read and learn more.

The Cap Times:  “How could Gov. Tony Evers use his partial veto authority to rewrite the Republican budget?”

Legislative Reference Bureau: “The Wisconsin Governor’s Partial Veto”

The Wheeler Report: "Budget Vetoes Part 1: WI Governor's Partial Veto"

Water Quality Task Force

Last Thursday, I attended the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality. This was the sixth public hearing the committee has held. Given how often constituents speak to me about water quality and the recent high levels of nitrates found in La Crosse county, I’m happy the committee held a hearing in our area. The intent of this bipartisan task force is to improve surface and ground water in Wisconsin.

Public input is critically important to the process of improving Wisconsin’s water quality, as each region of the state has its own set of challenges and complexities. The Driftless area is privileged to have many natural sources of water, but not all areas currently meet their water quality goals. I want to thank all members of the community who attended, and who lent their voice to ensure that everyone in our state has access to clean, safe drinking water.

In my office, we have been getting input from the Department of Natural Resources and local county officials on my water notification bill that was introduced last year. We’re working to ensure that citizens have the ability to know about the quality of water in their area.

The hearing also consisted of experts’ testimonials focused on the science of water contamination and the public health risks associated with water quality issues. A variety of local experts testified on the importance of this key natural resource: Andrew Aselesen, from the Wisconsin Rural Water Association; Dr. Tony Runkel, Chief Geologist at the Minnesota Geological Survey; Kimberlee Wright, Executive Director of Midwest Environmental Advocates; and several other environmental advocates from non-profits, state government, and conservation groups.

If you weren’t able to attend, but are interested in hearing what the speakers said, you can watch footage of the hearing on WisEye.

Rep. Billings in La Crosse and Madison
abrahamson 6.28.19.jpg


I had the pleasure of attending the retirement ceremony of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who is retiring next month after 43 years of service. Justice Abrahamson was the first woman to ever serve on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, and served for nearly 20 years as its chief justice. Also pictured are Judge Ramona Gonzalez and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.


Assembly Session 6.28.19.png


On Tuesday, I debated about the budget on the floor of the Assembly.


clouds 6.28.19.jpg


The view from the ridge before the storms in La Crosse yesterday.