GREEN BAY - Hundreds showed up to Lambeau Field Monday to voice their concerns and listen to debate over the proposed state budget.
Education was the top discussion topic. But, health care also took center stage.
The most vocal group protesting Monday supported an expansion of BadgerCare. But it also caused a bit of a disruption.
Before the Joint Finance Committee hearing even started, voices of opposition to Governor Scott Walker's budget were heard.
"Save BadgerCare!" shouted a BadgerCare supporter.
Those same cries spilled over into the testimony in front of the committee.
"Supporting this is a moral issue," said another BadgerCare supporter.
After which the BadgerCare supporters were peacefully, but promptly escorted out of the hearing by security for disrupting the proceedings.
"The governor is turning away billions of dollars and potentially 10,000 jobs. It makes no sense at all," said State Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay.
Hansen was one of the legislators leading the group of BadgerCare supporters. He says Governor Walker made a mistake by turning away federal Medicaid dollars made available as part of the federal health insurance reforms.
"The BadgerCare use of this money will create 10,000 jobs. We can't keep saying no to federal dollars because it's going to help people and our bottom line, our budget," said Hansen.
Republican State Representative John Nygren says the governor's budget already expands BadgerCare.
Nygren says under the proposal, a total of 241,000 people who are at or below the federal poverty line would be eligible for BadgerCare.
However, he says the Joint Finance Committee has heard plenty about the health care needs from concerned people around the state.
"I don't think we're hearing anything new. We heard the same issues in Milwaukee or Greendale as we are in Green Bay. But, there's more of a local flavor put on it and that's important," said State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.
The hearings continue across the state in the next week.
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