Annual legislative breakfast addresses local, state issues

Annual legislative breakfast...

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - An annual legislative breakfast in La Crosse Saturday is addressing some of the most pressing topics in Wisconsin.

The League of Women Voters hosts the legislative breakfast each year to give citizens and representatives an opportunity to meet and discuss various issues and citizen concerns.

The non-partisan organization invites all state and federal legislators and representatives from both sides of the aisle to discuss legislation.

Education and the lack of funding at local schools was one of the main topics.

"A lot of school districts are turning to a referendum to even pay their operating expenses to keep the lights on basically, the problem though is that when the state backs out of it's responsibility to fund K-12 education, that's replaced by a referendum, those are property tax dollars that pick up the difference then instead of the state money that's coming in so that's not the way to fund public education," said State Representative Steve Doyle.

Representatives say there is more funding in this year's budget for mental health for kids in school.

"I think it's good for people to talk to teachers and hear about how classrooms today are very different from classrooms when we were younger," said Representative Jill Billings.

Other topics at Saturday's breakfast included the environment and funding cuts at the Department of Natural Resources.
"I mean that's our line of defense to keep both our conservation heritage in tact, our clean water in tact, our clean air in tact, when you get rid of people who's job it is to protect you and provide safety to your environment, you're really risking your future and your kids future," Doyle said.

Transportation, which is one of the state's biggest challenges, was also a topic of discussion.

"There is not an agreement now between the governor and the legislature on that so they'll still be some movement in the budget this year," Billings said.

Members with the League of Women Voters say the annual breakfast offers a platform for all parties and all issues to be discussed equally.

"It is that kind of opportunity to give different points of view."

Representatives from Senator Tammy Baldwin's office were also present at Saturday's event to answer questions from the public.

Saturday's event was held at the Days Inn Hotel & Conference Center in La Crosse.



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