January 26, 2016                                                                                                                                                           

Statement from Senator Chris Larson on Republican Flint Water Bill

MADISON – Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding a destructive bill being hurried the state Senate, which would pave the way for the privatization one of our most basic human rights: clean drinking water.

“Assembly Bill (AB) 554 lowers the barriers that out-of-state water companies face when purchasing the water services of Wisconsin municipalities. Ultimately, it will make it harder for citizens to stop the sale of their public water utilities to profit seekers. This means that out-of-state water barons and corporations could control our shared, public water. Wisconsin should be gravely concerned with these shortsighted efforts to sell off our water supplies because doing so often leads to lower oversight and less accountability. Stripping away local water control led to the tragedies in Flint.  

“After being quietly ushered through the state Assembly, public outrage is rapidly growing regarding Assembly Bill 554. Now, the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Public Works, and Military Affairs is poised to push AB 554 through an executive session on Thursday, January 28, where (if passed) it can then go to the full Senate for a vote as early as February 9. To amplify the voices of my fellow concerned neighbors, I have created an online petition, which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/gngmqfv.

“As Governor Walker and legislative Republicans continue to cut resources from our local communities, they are being forced to make bad decisions to make up for the shortfalls. Turning over public goods for private profit may provide short-term cash, but it also cuts out the public from future decisions. I’m opposed to these kinds of takeovers and it is clear that the majority of Wisconsinites are too. We all have a right to clean water.  Safe drinking water is key to our freedom and prosperity.

“On the heels of the families of Flint, Michigan being poisoned, in the name of cost-cutting, it’s immoral and reckless for Walker and legislative Republicans to risk our public waters.”