More than 2,000 Wisconsin National Guardsmen are on active duty. About half of them took a pay cut of at least $1,000 when they were called up.
Lawmakers are saying that many of these active duty guardsmen and reservists are leaving their families in dire financial straits while they are deployed.
That's why a bill called the Military Family Relief Act has strong support around the Capitol. The bill would create a state fund that would accept donations through tax returns and private gifts. The money would be handed out based on financial need.
The state of Illinois already has a similar program in place. Eric Schuller of Illinois' Lt. governor testified about how well it has worked. "A key factor that service members worry about is how their family will be taken care of while they are deployed. If they're worried about the rent being paid or the electricity being shut off they're not concentrating on their mission."
The bill was approved by the committee Wednesday and will be scheduled for a vote in the Assembly.