The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has published an analysis on why certain Wisconsin State Assembly Democrats are supporting a Republican-sponsored bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 384, which would repeal a 33-year-old ban on new atomic reactors in WI until a national repository exists for WI's high-level radioactive waste, and until no undue burden on WI ratepayers from the proposed new reactor can be shown (that is, an assurance that the proposed new reactor is cost-competitive with other sources of electricity).
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign points out that "Banning new nuke plants has generally been a Democratic cause for decades."
The analysis reports:
The measure, Assembly Bill 384, is sponsored by Sen. Frank Lasee, of De Pere, and Rep. Kevin Petersen, of Waupaca, and is backed by utilities, labor unions, the business community and the rightwing ideological group, Americans for Prosperity. The bill is opposed by environmentalists and a utility watchdog. After a hearing on the bill, the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities voted 13-0 to recommend AB384 for legislative approval. The Assembly, which is controlled by Republicans by a 63 to 36 margin, is scheduled to vote on the bill on Tuesday.
Contributions to current Democratic lawmakers from the utility industry, and from the electrical, carpentry, plumbing and other trades whose unions support the bill, totaled about $510,000 between January 2011 and June 2015, including about $31,000 to the five Democrats on the Assembly committee who voted for the bill. Those Democrats and their contributions were:
Rep. Robb Kahl, of Monona, about $11,900, including nearly $6,200 from trades unions and about $5,700 from utilities;
Rep. Josh Zepnick, of Milwaukee, $7,400, including $4,100 from trades unions and $3,300 from utilities;
Rep. Eric Genrich, of Green Bay, $5,550, including $4,750 from trades unions and $800 from utilities;
Rep. Melissa Sargent, of Madison, $3,200, including $2,450 from trades unions and $750 from utilities;
Rep. Amanda Stuck, of Appleton, $3,000, all from trades unions.
As reported by MLive, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 384 by voice vote on Jan. 13. As no record of votes was taken, it is now difficult to impossible to know which of the 36 Democrats in the State Assembly voted in favor of AB 384. Thus, transparency and accountability in governance have also fallen victim to the nuclear power lobby, in addition to health, safety, and the environment!