By THOMAS A. BARREN and ROBERT A. LOBBYEDGEAssociated PressAssociated PressWisconsin environmental protection bill would create about $10.6 billion in new business opportunities for Wisconsin businesses, including $2.4 billion in additional employment and $4.8 billion in tax revenue, state lawmakers said on Wednesday.
The bill passed the state Senate on a party-line vote with a Republican majority, and it now heads to the House of Representatives, where Republican leaders have signaled they will push for the measure to go to Gov.
Republican lawmakers say the bill would help businesses, while environmental groups say it would hurt Wisconsin’s economy and leave communities vulnerable to lawsuits.
The bill also would cut off the state’s ability to provide subsidies to businesses, but the bill includes an exemption for agriculture and small businesses.
In the weeks leading up to the bill’s passage, Walker’s administration pushed back against the idea of a $10-a-day minimum wage and the requirement that businesses pay employees.
Wisconsin is one of the few states without a minimum wage of $10 per hour, and the measure would allow businesses to negotiate wages.
“I think the legislation is important in terms of creating more jobs, because if we’re going to have a robust economy, I think we’ve got to have good jobs, and if we can’t create good jobs then our economy is going to fall apart,” Walker said.
Walker’s administration, however, has argued that the bill will spur economic growth and create more than 2,000 new jobs.
It also would allow the state to continue using a $1 billion fund to pay for environmental protection measures and to help communities address climate change.
Wisconsin’s legislative leaders said the state is poised to create 2,500 new jobs over the next four years, and that the state would add $7 billion in revenue over the same period.
The state’s economic development director, James Johnson, said the legislation would create jobs and boost Wisconsin’s economic growth.
The House bill also includes a $250 million cap on the state government’s budget to help offset the cost of a new court to deal with the lawsuit.
The judge overseeing the case has also ruled that Wisconsin’s constitution, which requires that a state’s budget be balanced, does not allow the Legislature to set an arbitrary limit on how much money the courts have to pay to the state.
Lawmakers said that even though the cap is not an absolute limit, it is intended to help limit the financial burden of the lawsuit and help the state avoid a costly and potentially costly lawsuit.
Republican House Speaker Robin Vos, who also sits on the legislative budget committee, said Wednesday that he supports the bill.
The measure also includes language to allow the federal government to help with lawsuits against the state and federal governments if those lawsuits cause significant harm to the environment.
The new law would require the courts to issue orders prohibiting the use of any name, symbol or mark that disparages or is disparaging to an official or employee of a state or federal agency, or to the public or a person engaged in the public business of government, unless authorized by a court order issued under this Act.
The court order may be issued with or without a hearing.
The provisions of this Act are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other court orders issued under the Constitution or laws of this state.
Wisconsin is one or more of the 19 states that have sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency to block a rule aimed at limiting methane emissions from oil and gas operations.
The EPA is appealing the ruling and is expected to take up the case in the federal appeals court in Washington.