Oppose AB 554/SB 432: Say NO to Wisconsin Water Privatization
Access to critical water services, such as clean drinking water and effective sanitary sewerage treatments, are at risk as private companies vie for control over our public water supplies. AB554/SB432 makes it possible for communities to transfer water utility management from the public sector to the private sector, which means out-of-state and potentially multi-national companies will assume control of our public water supplies with less oversight. Water privatization most often leads to declining quality of service, higher water rates, less accountability and oversight (private companies do not face elections or have to share information), and a loss of public sector jobs.
Current Wisconsin law requires a referendum be put before voters before public drinking water facilities are sold or leased, and the referendum must include information about the costs and conditions of sale. The procedures in current law ensure citizens agree to privatization of their public water utility. This proposed bill would put the burden on citizens to petition for a referendum, and doesn’t require that our Public Service Commission evaluate the value of the water system or proposed conditions of sale or lease before the referendum occurs, which is a requirement of existing law.
The senate bill, AB554/SB432, passed the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Public Works and Military in a party line vote on Thursday, January 28. It is likely AB554/SB432 will be voted on by the full senate in the next week. Call your state legislators today and tell them to keep the management of our publicly owned water out of the hands of private companies!
The Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Public Works and Military members are; Roth, Gudex, Stroebel, Larson and Lassa. Larson and Lassa don’t support the bill.
The Senate sponsor is Lasee with co-sponsors August, Zepnik, Sanfellipo, Murphy, Kleefisch, Knodl and Skowronski.