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Paul Collins: Evers disappoints by signing felony trespass bill

Paul Collins: Evers disappoints by signing felony trespass bill

Dear Editor: In the early morning hours of Nov. 7, 2018, I was elated to see that Scott Walker’s eight-year reign of error would soon be coming to an end. Naively I thought that the election of Gov. Evers meant that the environment, wildlife, and civil rights would once again be a priority for our state governor. My optimism was also sky-high at the beginning of 2019 when I attended a meeting with a member of then-Gov.-elect Evers’ transition team as a representative of an animal welfare group. Those hopes were soon dashed upon hearing that Evers had selected Preston Cole to be the head of the Wisconsin DNR. Mr. Cole, unfortunately, had been a virtual “rubber stamp” for the Walker/Stepp assault on our wildlife and environmental protections while seated on the Natural Resources Board. That should have been my first inkling that the status quo would remain when it came to the war on our environment and free speech. The final “nail in the coffin” for my optimism regarding Gov. Evers came this past week when he signed into law an egregious assault on the First Amendment, the environment and the rights of our tribal friends and neighbors. The bill, AB 426, is a bipartisan attack on free assembly and protest at the behest of foreign energy companies and ALEC. By signing this bill into law, Gov. Evers makes it clear that he has no issue making criminals of those protesting the pipelines and energy facilities that are often forced upon an individual or tribe’s property. Trespassing is already against the law and this law serves only to stifle protest and provide special protections for foreign mining companies while turning American citizens into felons for protesting. Shame on you, Gov. Evers and the “Democrats” that supported this bill.

Paul Collins


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