February 1, 2016
Statement from Senator Chris Larson on the County Parkland & Heritage Protection Act
MADISON – Senator Chris Larson released the following statement regarding the circulation of the County Parkland & Heritage Protection Act (LRB-4453) for co-sponsorship.
“Late in the state budget process, language was inserted into the 2015-17 budget that radically and undemocratically stripped away important checks and balances in Milwaukee County, jeopardizing parklands and culturally significant properties by denying the Milwaukee County Board the ability to reject land sales.
“In addition to economic and culturally significant properties like the County’s General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee Public Museum, and the Milwaukee County Zoo, the law now grants the Milwaukee County executive the power to sell-off thousands of acres of parklands without board approval.
“With little notice, in the dark of night, this anti-democratic, nonfiscal policy was jammed into the state budget. Ironically, this was done the day before our neighbors across Wisconsin were to celebrate America’s hard-won independence and the establishment of our great democracy. In the light of day, it became crystal clear that this attack on local control disrupts the checks and balances that are essential to the health of a democracy. This was another radical attack on the right of Milwaukee County residents to have a strong, effective, and balanced, county government.
“The County Parkland & Heritage Protection Act would safeguard these important public properties, by restoring the ability of the county board to reject attempts by the county executive to peddle away our heritage. The deadline for co-sponsorship is Wednesday, February 3.
“Legislative Republicans seem bent on auctioning off the parklands and cultural properties are our legacy. They’ve even created a Milwaukee monarch with the power to do so. This proposal will end the unchecked tyranny they so hastily crafted.”