February 9th Listening Session will include discussion of both SB1 and Senator Cullen Proposal
MADISON-Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and Representative Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) announced today that they will be holding a public listening session at the AmericInn in Ashland on Saturday, February 9th beginning at 9:00 a.m. The event is open to the public and the discussion will focus on the two recently introduced mining bills, SB1/AB1, authored by Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and LRB 0821, authored by Senator Tim Cullen (D-Janesville).
“Rep. Bewley and I have asked Senator Tiffany and his Assembly counterpart, Rep. Williams, to reconsider their decision to not hold a hearing in Northern Wisconsin on this new mining legislation and to date there has been no response. The only option remaining to ensure that the citizens of the North who were deliberately excluded from the process have their voices heard is to hold this listening session instead,” said Jauch.
The Northern Lawmakers stressed that this listening session will not be a partisan event. Their goal is to provide a more open and thoughtful process than Wednesday’s hearing. “This will not be a Democratic listening session or Republican listening session. It is an opportunity for citizens on all sides of the issue to be heard in a respectful manner, unlike the embarrassing manner in which the hearing on Wednesday was conducted,” said Bewley.
The legislators indicated that the listening session will help make the issue more accessible to citizens who live in the area of the proposed mine. “The committee chairs could have held a hearing somewhere in central Wisconsin to make it equally accessible for citizens from around the state to attend, but they didn’t. Someone living in Ashland or Iron Counties had to drive 11 hours round trip for the chance to offer two minutes in testimony on a bill that will directly impact their community,” noted Jauch. “Instead they chose to make the hearing convenient for their friends in Southeastern Wisconsin, going so far as to reserve a room for the conservative political group Americans For Prosperity to work from during the hearing, a reservation that was placed a full 3 days before the committee chairs announced the hearing to the public.”
The event will be open to the public and all legislators are invited to attend. Senator Cullen, Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), and Representative Nick Milroy (D-Superior) have already indicated they will participate and Jauch expects more legislators to announce plans to join them in the coming days.