Chequamegon Dems Reject Bewley’s Support of SB386; Urge Gov. Evers to Veto

November 11, 2019 by Barbara With

On November 9, 2019, the membership of the Chequamegon Democrats, which represents Ashland and Bayfield County members of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, met and after full and free discussion passed a resolution rejecting AB426/SB386, the controversial ALEC “anti-protest” bill and are calling on Governor Evers to veto the bill.  Five State Democrats signed on as co-sponsors, including Sen. Janet Bewley (D-25) who represents the Cheq Bay dems:

Resolution # 1 Ashland and Bayfield Counties’ Chequamegon Chapter of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Opposition to the Passage of SB 386/AB 426, the Pipeline Infrastructure Safety Enhancement Bill

WHEREAS, SB386 provides “energy companies” with a new property right, including the power to exclude entry on lands where they may not otherwise have this right, and police powers to choose whether a person’s entry constitutes a felony;

WHEREAS, SB 386 would stifle the right to peaceably assemble and exercise the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;

WHEREAS, SB386 protects the investment and interests of privately-owned corporations over the protection of the rights and freedoms of the people;

WHEREAS, the application of this law to Indian reservations could subject tribal members engaging in non-protest related activities on private land subject to arrests, felony charges, imprisonment and fines;

WHEREAS, SB386 does not support or further the values of the Democratic Party as set forth in the Preamble of the Platform of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and the 2018 Platform of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin;

WHEREAS, after discussion, SB 386 was considered to be substantially redundant of other laws that already exist in the criminal codes of the State of Wisconsin for trespass and damaging infrastructure, buildings and equipment;

THEREFOR BE IT RESOLVED, The Ashland and Bayfield Counties’ Chapter of the Democratic Part of Wisconsin, The Chequamegon Democrats, calls on Governor Tony Evers to veto SB 386.

The Ashland and Bayfield County Dems join the Sawyer County and LCO Democrats, also of the 25th, who also unanimously passed anti-AB426/SB386 resolutions in September.

The resolution comes just weeks after the Cheq Bay Dems hosted Bewley on October 26 to discuss her recent decision to co-sponsor an ALEC-driven bill that has already been shot down as unconstitutional in several states. At that meeting, Bewley insisted that, despite what the majority of her constituents may think or say, she is going to stand in support of the bill.

Janet Bewley fielding questions from concerned constituents in Park Falls, WI, October 15, 2019.

Bewley was also in attendance at the November 9 Cheq Bay Dem meeting where the resolution eventually passed. According to eye witnesses, Bewley repeated the story she told the Park Falls Democratic Party on October 15.

Bewley complained about the “harsh” treatment she thinks she is receiving because her constituents are correctly referring to her actions as “corporate fascism.”

Corporate Fascism: When corporations collude with politicians to write and pass laws to benefit the corporations at the expense of the people, land, water, natural resources, communities, civil and human rights, and democratic process.

By co-sponsoring a bill that was written by a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute and not denouncing the immediate and tragic threat that the new law is posing to her constituency, she stands on the side of the corporations.

© 2019 Wm. J. Krupinski

Bewley also failed to bring the issue to her constituents before deciding to co-sponsor, especially the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who are suing Enbridge to remove their dated and dangerous pipeline from reservation land and watershed. By committing to co-sponsor the bill at the behest of the pipeline unions and ignoring what a majority of her voters are demanding for their own safety and wellbeing, she has successfully moved into the same corporate fascist territory that Wisconsin Republicans have been operating in since 2011.

Another fascist aspect of the bill is that Enbridge and other private, often foreign oil, gas, and water pipeline corporations can now begin seizing the land needed for their pipelines in eminent domain, as they would now be recognized as “Wisconsin utilities.” This means the Bad River Reservation can become a target for such land grabbing, along with any privately held land that they claim to need for their “utility.”

Bewley has also failed to understand the events of Standing Rock and how AB426/SB386 was a direct reaction to the peaceful protests that were unconstitutionally addressed by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) with military and private security firms in North Dakota. Whereas ETP reimbursed North Dakota $15,000,000 to pay for law enforcement who were called in from all across the country, Enbridge, now to be considered a “Wisconsin utility,” can use local law enforcement and do so at taxpayer expense.

Bewley is staking her entire career, she says, on being right, despite what anyone tells her. Her lack of grasp of the bigger picture, her inability to really listen to those who witnessed the gross miscarriage of justice and suspension of the constitution in North Dakota, and her arrogant, passive aggressive assumptions that the people don’t know what is best for them has alienated her from her former base and split the party. Both votes in the Assembly and Senate were voice votes so no record of how the Democrats voted would be available.

Why Bewley and the other co-sponsoring Democrats have gone off the rails is still a mystery, but when Democratic chapters in Bewley’s district are quickly rallying to demand Gov. Evers veto the bill, something must be seriously wrong, at least in the 25th.

The bill has passed both the Assembly and Senate and is headed to Governor Evers to sign or veto.

Contact Evers and urge him to veto.


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