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Lawmakers seek help for PFAS, COVID, and flooding

Brad Williams

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The PFAS problem making news in La Crosse is getting attention from the area’s state legislators. 

The three lawmakers who represent La Crosse County in Madison had an on-line listening session on Monday, where they were asked about ways to help families with well water tainted by chemicals. 

Senator Brad Pfaff says the next state budget should include money for PFAS relief.

“It is causing real stress and anxiety and consternation to homeowners, and to residents,” said Pfaff. who wants to see $10 million a year for the next two years devoted to remedies for PFAS. 

Representative Jill Billings says well testing should be done faster, and calls on the DNR to work on a PFAS action plan.     

Billings also spoke about serving on the Wisconsin building commission, which just deadlocked along party lines on building programs for the UW System. She says the Prairie Springs science center for UW-La Crosse can’t be put off any longer.

“I believe that there are incredible needs on campuses because of deferred and delayed projects over the last 10 years, especially the first 8 years of this decade,” said Democrat Billings, referring to the period when Republicans controlled both the governor’s office and the legislature.   

The chances of much cooperation between parties this session remains slim, according to another area Democrat, Steve Doyle. 

The Onalaska rep says he’s from one of only two Assembly districts in Wisconsin where people voted one way for president last fall, and another way for the legislature.

“What that tells me is that we are in for another two years of the two parties not talking to each other, because the maps have been drawn that almost prohibit the parties from working together,” said Doyle.

During the listening session, lawmakers also called for funding to relieve frequent flooding in the area, and noted that the La Crosse area might get around $40 million from the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief bill.  

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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