The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to give $110,000 to a suicide prevention group — but not without partisan commentary. State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) noted that the money was included in the budget approved this summer.
“I get the due diligence, but this in my eyes is not due diligence. This is jut holding things up for a couple months,” Erpenbach said.
Committee Republicans held off, awaiting recommendations of a suicide prevention task force. JFC co-chair Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette).
“We might have been even doing some other changes here today if four minority members of that task force hadn’t decided to leak their initial report to the media because it wasn’t going the way they wanted it to,” Nygren said.
The money will go to the Center for Suicide Awareness to operate Hopeline, a text-based counseling service.
The UW-System will be getting $8.8 million to fund new dairy research facilities at UW-Madison, UW-Platteville and UW-River Falls, after those funds were released by the Joint Finance Committee. But committee members spent time discussing USDA secretary Sonny Perdue’s comments about small farms needing to consolidate or fail.
John Holevoet with the Dairy Business Association said Perdue’s comment’s just emphasize a long standing discussion in the industry.
“There’s always been this sort of discussion about ‘how do we protect small farms?’ Do we do that at the expense of big farms? Do we protect big farms at the expense of small farms? At least from our perspective, there’s space for both to operate.”
Like suicide prevention funding, the Dairy Innovation Hub was part of the recent state budget.