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02
Mar
2016

clean-drinking-waterSenate Bill 239 relating to groundwater is scheduled to be voted on by the Senate Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism Committee today, Wednesday, March 2nd.


MADISON - Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of water. Water provides the basis for our economy and way of life. Yet Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and their legislative allies continue to threaten that resource, pitting one user against another, undermining Wisconsin’s constitution and threatening economic stability.

Recently, the Legislature tried to pass Senate Bill 432 which would have allowed private companies to buy public water systems without requiring the consent of the people served by that system. A public outcry ensued, fueled by the tragedy in Flint, Michigan, resulting in Senate Republicans having to kill the proposal after it passed the Assembly. The public should be equally concerned about another end-of-session attempt to cut the public out of decisions affecting their water supply.

Senate Bill 239/Assembly Bill 874 would make permanent all current usage of high capacity wells. It allows the transfer, replacement and reconstruction of wells without a new permit. While that may not seem significant, under current law high capacity well permits are perpetual. There is no end date. If SB239/AB874 passes, any permit that is currently in existence, or any permit issued in the future will never be subject to review unless the well owner wants to change their permit terms. That essentially privatizes the groundwater for that well owner now and into the future. The waters of the state will be allocated on a first-come, first serve basis, running afoul of Wisconsin’s state constitution which protects the waters of Wisconsin for the benefit of all users.

Under the public trust doctrine in Wisconsin’s constitution, everyone is entitled to access our water, but no one is allowed to use the water to the detriment of others. Under AB874, new well applicants could be denied permits because existing permits already allow over-use of the water resource. This over- subscription of water is a current reality in parts of Wisconsin.

Written by Wisconsin Senate Democrats   
 
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01
Mar
2016

boy-in-docMedia reports reveal that since February 2012, state officials at the highest levels have known of attacks and sexual assaults at Lincoln Hills School for Boys without either contacting or fully disclosing the details to county officials, family members of victims and even law enforcement. Senate Republican legislators now shirk legal responsibility to investigate.

Written by GBP Staff   
 
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29
Feb
2016

kids-milwWisconsin should follow the lead of Minnesota and make crucial investment in all levels of education. During a recent legislative forum in Chippewa Falls, Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) walked out because of comments made comparing Minnesota and Wisconsin. Sen. Kathleen Vinehout shares why the conversation was important to the overall discussion of school funding.

Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
 
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26
Feb
2016

valley-powerplantEPA has failed to update hazardous air pollution rules for years, needs to do its job and protect Wisconsinites from toxic air pollution by setting up-to-date standards.

Written by Clean Wisconsin   
 
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