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Funding a suicide prevention hotline should not be a partisan issue.

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Politics is a dirty business. Lawmakers wondering what is in it for them or their party before doing things to improve the lives of those they represent. The latest case in point is an issue that one would think would have bipartisan support…helping people stay alive. As part of his state budget, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called for spending $100,000 on a suicide prevention hotline. The hotline is run by the nonprofit Center for Suicide Awareness in Kauakana. It provides immediate help for those who are in crisis and contemplating suicide. Lawmakers approved the funding when they passed the Governor’s budget back in July. Despite lawmakers’ approval, the money was not released, until after a bitter fight that finally ended yesterday. The legislature added language when passing the budget that the suicide prevention money would only be released after a vote by the state suicide prevention task force. I’m not clear what types of things the suicide prevention task force does, but pushing for state money to help with suicide prevention efforts should certainly be at the top of their list. Instead, even something as seemingly bipartisan as helping people in crisis fell victim to partisan politics. It is good that the money to fund the suicide prevention hotline has finally been released, but it is unfortunate that a petty political fight threatened to put more lives at risk.

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