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Wisconsin lawmakers vote to release suicide hotline funding

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A suicide-prevention hotline will receive a boost in funding under a unanimous vote by the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget committee following a bitter partisan fight.

The Republican-controlled budget panel approved a $110,000 annual grant on Wednesday. The vote comes a week after a Republican-led suicide-prevention task force recommended releasing the money.

It had already been approved as part of the state budget signed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in July. But the Republicans who control the budget committee refused to offer it to the Hopeline suicide-prevention hotline until after the task force had released its recommendations.

Democrats pushed unsuccessfully for the money to be offered sooner, arguing lives were at stake.

The hotline is run by the nonprofit Center for Suicide Awareness in Kaukauna. It sends text messages to provide immediate help to people who are at risk of suicide.

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