EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – State lawmakers from the Chippewa Valley stressed the urgent need for more and better mental health care, as well as help for those affected by the pandemic during this morning’s “Eggs and Issues” sponsored by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce.
State Sen. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) said she will continue to push for expansion of mental health facilities at the HSHS hospitals in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls. She urged legislators from both parties to work together, and chided some Democrats for walking out of a recent meeting to discuss election issues.
But Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Eau Claire) said members only walked out of that meeting after some attendees refused to wear masks. He also complained that Democrats were not given the opportunity to ask questions. Another top priority, according to Smith, is the replacement of the old science building, Phillips Halls, on the UW-Eau Claire campus. Phase one of that project was approved last year. Lawmakers will be asked for fund phase two this year. Smith says he’s already spoken to Governor Tony Evers about it and is confident it will be in the Governor’s budget.
Bernier noted that the UW System staff recently presented “something different.” She said she would continue pushing for the science building, but “it’s difficult to go against the UW System staff” recommendations.
Other priorities cited by local lawmakers:
- help for people, businesses and local governments hurt by the pandemic
- re-mapping Assembly and State Senate districts
- education and re-opening schools
- expanding Wisconsin’s workforce
- clarifying rules for absentee voters