ACTION ALERT: Tell Wisconsin Democrats to withdraw from Anti-Protesting Bill

September 25, 2019 by Barbara With

ACTION ALERT: A public hearing will be held on Thursday, September 26 in Madison for AB 426, the Assembly version of the controversial Anti-Protester Bill. Wisconsin State Capitol, Room 417 North, beginning at 11 AM before the Energy and Utilities Committee. 

Read about the background of the bill here.

Democrats Reps. Christine Sinicki (D-20), Jason Fields (D-11) and Don Vruwink (D-43) are co-sponsors of AB 426.

Democrats Sens. Janet Bewley (D-25) and Patty Schachtner (D-10) have signed on as co-sponsors to the Senate version SB 386.

Contact these Democrats and demand that they withdraw their support of the bills (contact information below). If possible, attend the hearing and speak out against the bills.

The controversial legislation began in 2015 when current Energy and Utilities Committee Chair and ALEC member Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-84) co-sponsored the original ALEC legislation involving penalties for trespassing on property owned by an energy provider. Passage of the bills resulted in Wisconsin Act 158.

SB 386 and AB 426 are amending Wisconsin Act 158 by increasing penalties for protesters around pipelines, and declaring foreign for-profit oil/tar sands corporations “Wisconsin utilities.”

In June 2019, President Trump came out in support of similar measures to suppress the voice of the people and increase penalties for water protectors:

The Trump administration is seeking to dramatically escalate federal penalties for pipeline protesters. Under newly proposed changes, pipeline protesters could face up to 20 years in prison for disrupting the construction of oil and gas infrastructure. The move echoes similarly harsh penalties for anti-pipeline activists being adopted in several states.

These bills will make it easier for Wisconsin to put water protectors in jail and keep them there.

Violent and unconstitutional arrests of peaceful protesters at Standing Rock.

The bill is not just a slap in the face to Sen. Bewley’s constituents on the Bad River Reservation, where their watershed and Lake Superior are under a direct threat from Enbridge, it is a direct threat to water protectors around the region who will be punished much more severely for standing up to protect the water.

Bad River is suing Enbridge to cease and desist operating Line 5. With expired permits and failing pipes, Enbridge is refusing to comply with their legal obligation to decomission the line, thus endangering the entire region with the threat of a possible spill of tar sands oil:

Bad River Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins Jr. agrees with the Council’s decision. “No amount of compensation is worth risking Wenji-Bimaadiziyaang- an Ojibwe word that literally means ‘From where we get life.’ It’s time to end the imminent threat the company is presenting to our people, our rivers, and gichi gami (Lake Superior). It’s not only an infringement of our sovereignty, but a burden felt by our people having to engage in the perpetual chase for the next pipeline rupture. It’s time to stop the flow of oil immediately.”

If local citizens, failed by their legislators, decide to protest the illegal and immoral actions of Enbridge and try to protect themselves from the collusion between the energy companies and the government, they risk felonies and years in jail.

On Tuesday, October 1, Bad River will be hosting a community forum at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center concerning Line 3 and Minnesota’s Line 5.

Representative Christine Sinicki (D – Milwaukee)
Assembly District 20
Room 114 North
State Capitol
PO Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-8588
(888) 534-0020

Fax:
(608) 282-3620

District Phone:
(414) 481-7667

Email:
Rep.Sinicki@legis.wisconsin.gov

Representative Jason Fields (D – Milwaukee)
Assembly District 11

Room 320 West
State Capitol
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-3756
(888) 534-0011

Fax:
(608) 282-3611

Email:
Rep.Fields@legis.wisconsin.gov

Senator Janet Bewley (D – Mason)
Madison Office:
Room 126 South
State Capitol
PO Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707

Telephone:
(608) 266-3510
(800) 469-6562

Fax:
(608) 282-3565

Email:
Sen.Bewley@legis.wisconsin.gov

Senator Patty Schachtner (D – Somerset)

Senate District 10

Room 3 South
State Capitol
PO Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707

Telephone:
(608) 266-7745
Fax:
(608) 282-3550

Representative Don Vruwink (D – Milton)

Assembly District 43

Room 6 North
State Capitol
PO Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

Telephone:
(608) 266-3790
(888) 534-0043

Fax:
(608) 282-3643

Email:
Rep.Vruwink@legis.wisconsin.gov

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