Wisconsin Rapids Together Task Force
Senator Patrick Testin and Representative Scott Krug chair the Wisconsin Rapids Together Task Force. The task force works to assist the community in accessing resources and assistance in the face of the closing of the Verso Mill in Wisconsin Rapids. The task force will also assist in exploring options for the mill and facilitating conversations on the mill's future.
Please see the links above for information, resources, and video of previous meetings as we work alongside you to move our communities forward.
Status Report: June 30, 2021
The Wisconsin State Senate has concurred on Assembly bill 367, on a vote of 20-12. supporters of the bill to email Governor Evers and ask that he sign the bill into law.
Your help is needed to convince Governor Evers to sign the Mill Bill.
To assist with this we have established a webpage on this site that you can use to send a personal email directly to Governor Evers. You can access the website by clicking here https://legis.wisconsin.gov/rapidstogether/contact-the-governor/.
Anyone in Wisconsin can write Governor Evers to support this bill. Please visit the page to voice your support. Please consider sharing this link with anyone you may know that would be willing to voice their support of this legislation to Governor Evers.
Status Report: June 25, 2021
Assembly Bill 367 passed the State Assembly on Tuesday, June 22nd, on a vote of 66-35. We are now trying to get a vote on this bill in the State Senate the week of June 28th.
The Senate version of the bill, AB 369 has been recommended for passage by a State Senate Committee as well.
Status Report: June 17, 2021
We received a tremendous amount of support at public hearing on Senate Bill 369/Assembly Bill 367 in the Senate Committee on Economic Development on Tuesday June 15. We received over 100 written testimonies in support of the Mill Bill from across the state
The Assembly version of the bill, AB 367, is now scheduled for a vote by the full Assembly. The bill is on the Assembly calendar for Tuesday, June 22, and we feel very confident heading into the vote.
Thank you to everyone who has been making sure their voice is heard in support of our community.
Status Report: June 10, 2021
We had a terrific showing of support for the public hearing on AB367 at the Committee of State Affairs.
The Committee on State Affairs has now recommended the AB367 for passage by the full State Assembly. The committee also amended AB367 to include assistance for the purchase of the paper mill in Park Falls, WI.
A public hearing on the senate bill, SB369 has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 15th at 1:00 PM in the State Capitol. We need people to contact the state senate committee in support of SB369. Can you help? Please contact us at the emails and telephone numbers listed at the bottom of this page.
Status Report: June 2, 2021
We have introduced a bill, AB 367/SB 369, and had a terrific showing of support at the public hearing today.
We had several people appear at the hearing in support of the bill and we had over 60 emails from people all over Northern Wisconsin who could not attend but who wanted their support of the bill noted and added to the record.
We expect action soon by the Committee on State Affairs to recommend the bill for passage by the full State Assembly, and once we have that we will press for a vote by the full Assembly.
Status Report: March 29, 2021
The most recent meeting of the Task Force was Wednesday, February 3rd at 10:00 AM. Details can be found on our Previous Meetings Page.
At this time, discussions are ongoing regarding the potential sale of the mill. Representative Krug and Senator Testin are assisting the discussions and working to make sure that whatever help can be provided by the state is being made available.
Representatives of Verso, the Timber Cooperative, and other interested parties are in regular communication with each other. Information and assistance is being made available by various state agencies as needed.
While discussions are currently ongoing between the parties, a next meeting of the Task Force is not scheduled at this time.
The mill is closed. Production has ceased and much of the workforce has been discharged. The mill formerly employed 900 people; a greatly reduced workforce is working to close the mill and prepare the equipment for shutdown. Once the mill is fully idled, about 125 people will continue to work at treating wastewater and generating electricity for Sonoco and for Nine Dragons (two companies who rely on infrastructure at the mill for their own operations).
Future of the mill:
-Verso is marketing the mill to prospective buyers, using a consultancy firm known as Moelis and Company. During the autumn of 2020 Verso at one point apparently Verso slowed their efforts to sell the mill. (Please see our "In the News" page or our "Previous Meetings Page" for October 21)
-Our understanding at this time, today March 29 2021, is that the company is again working with and responding to interested parties regarding the mill.
-An effort is being made to arrange for the mill to be purchased and operated as a cooperative. This effort is being organized by the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association (GLTPA) and has cooperation from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) which is a state agency, as well as from the Innovation Center - Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture and from the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives. For more information see our page “Resources for Task Force Members” and look for the pull-down tab "Documents for Committee Use" and then look for the heading for “Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association.”
Resources for affected families:
-The Verso Mill in Wisconsin Rapids HAS NOW BEEN CERTIFIED FOR THE TAA program (Trade Adjustment Assistance) through the US Department of Labor and Wisconsin Department of Labor Development. For information about the TAA program please see our Resources for Families Page
-The Rapid Response Program has been activated for the Verso Mill as well. Rapid Response is a pro-active, business-focused, and flexible strategy designed to respond to layoffs and plant closings by quickly coordinating services and providing immediate aid to companies and their affected workers. Rapid Response is coordinated in Wisconsin by the office for Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The Rapid Response program is being activated for the Verso closing. Information on Rapid Response from Wisconsin DWD is available here. You can view the TAA decision by the US Department of Labor here.
-The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has opened the Job Center office in Wisconsin Rapids to Verso workers and also to laid-off employees of the casino in Nekoosa WI. (See our "Resources for Families" page.)
-Training and assistance are available to former employees from a number of area institutions and from county and state government. (See our "Resources for Families" page.)
For the latest developments regarding the mill and the agencies and entities involved please see our News page.
A job fair was held Monday August 28, and Tuesday August 29, 2020. Another job fair was held on Monday, September 28. Please see our “Upcoming meetings” page for additional information.
There was a free online panel on the Verso/Wisconsin Rapids situation being offered by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on Wednesday, November 18th. The video of the panel can be viewed online here: https://www.chicagofed.org/events/project-hometown/wisconsin-rapids
Read more about the Verso mill closing and efforts to assist the community on our “In the News” page.
The task force continues its work. Our page on “Upcoming meetings” has details of future meetings. Video links to our meetings are available.
If you have any questions please see contact information below for the offices of Senator Patrick Testin and Representative Scott Krug.
Representative Scott Krug
Rep.Krug@legis.wi.gov (608) 266-0215
Senator Patrick Testin
Sen.Testin@legis.wi.gov (608) 266-3123