By Maya Reese
Stevens Point - Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statement in response to the governor's veto of 2021 Assembly Bill 367, known as the "Mill Bill."
"Since the Verso Corporation first announced that they would be idling the Wisconsin Rapids mill last summer, I've been consistently and actively working to help support its displaced workers and find solutions to get the mill back up and running. While I voted for the mill bill, I also introduced an amendment that would have made the terms for the mill loan more favorable while dedicating state funds to ensure we had the legal certainty necessary for the bill to become law. It's disappointing that the majority party in the Legislature chose to reject this amendment to remove its problematic funding source, knowing the governor requested it, and despite warnings from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau* and lawmakers that American Rescue Plan Act funding may not be usable for this purpose. While this outcome could have been prevented, it's time to move forward together. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to ensure the best possible outcome for our state and local community.
"This isn't just a Wisconsin Rapids issue or a Park Falls issue. The closure of these mills disrupted the state supply chains for the paper, pulp, and forestry industries, and that problem hasn't gone away. Our attention and action are very much still needed."
"With most of the legislative session left ahead of us and a surplus of state funds to draw from, there's no reason why we can't all come together, bearing in mind what we've learned from this attempt, and try again. I know that if we put our heads together and negotiate in good faith, we can build something stronger that we can actually get across the finish line to provide the certainty and security needed to help our communities."