Wisconsin Police Powers Bill Stalls

According to the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association (WISA), the Wisconsin State Legislature adjourned its 2013-2015 session without acting on SB 632/AB 816. The bill ¬– significantly revised from its predecessor SB 349 – would have prevented use of municipal police powers to change the rules for existing, locally permitted non-metallic mining operations and properties, while continuing the high level of protection over the state’s environmental and economic interests provided by state and local government.

WISA and several business, industry and labor groups supported the revised bill; however, many factors and misinformation contributed to its ultimate demise. The Wisconsin Towns Association, which had publicly stated it would join with the Wisconsin Counties Association in taking a neutral position, unexpectedly declared its opposition at the last minute.

The 11th-hour flip undid much work by sponsors state Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) and state Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) to fully explain the revised bill and provide assurances that local agreements would remain in place and local authority would be protected.

“While we are disappointed that the bill did not advance, we are grateful to the many legislators ¬– both for and against the bill and from both sides of the aisle –  who expressed positive views about WISA and its member companies during public hearings,” WISA said. “This process takes time, and there are still facts to be communicated and concerns to be addressed. We remain committed to working cooperatively with legislators, municipalities and others to find the right mix of having consistent and tough state standards and giving local governments the authority they need to best represent their individual communities.”

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