At 9 a.m. on the 7th of September, a hearing was held in Ladysmith, Wisconsin on the proposal to repeal the "prove it first" Sulfide Mining Moratorium law.
In Tom Tiffany's Sept. 8 newsletter, Sen. Tiffany treats his constituents to a fictional account of what occurred at the hearing.
The newsletter states, "As the chair of the committee, it was important to me to schedule a public hearing on SB 395 up north where the citizens who are most affected by mining will have a better opportunity to testify. The committee heard 10 hours of testimony from experts and local residents that demonstrated the success of the Flambeau Mine in addition to the vast economic opportunity that lays beneath our feet."
It is good that this hearing was held "up north" rather than in Madison. However, the reason that you schedule a hearing at 9 in the morning during the week is to cater to lobbyists and paid professionals, not so that "citizens who are most affected by mining will have a better opportunity to testify.".
During the time that Sen. Tiffany was in the hearing room he was preoccupied and obsessed with sifting through the hearing slips carefully deciding who should testify when. The lobbyists, paid professionals, and supporters of the Bill, along with some opposing the Bill went in the first portion of the hearing, most of them not "citizens who are most affected by mining" or "local residents".
Sen. Tiffany even brought down to Ladysmith an indigenous representative from the far northern part of Canada to support his Bill, but the Indian folks living in the Northwoods who opposed the Bill had to wait.
Once Sen. Tiffany spent his pool of Bill supporters he had no choice than to let the others testify. It was a long list of folks speaking against the Bill, the vast majority being "citizens," "up north," "who are most affected by mining."
Sen. Tiffany made sure that the first in this long string opposing the Bill was Al Gedicks. After his testimony, Mr. Gedicks was asked several questions and then Sen. Tiffany grilled Mr. Gedicks about a criminal conviction for which Mr. Gedicks was sentenced to three years' probation with the first ninety days in County jail under the Huber Act. This occurred 47 years ago during the Vietnam War and was totally unrelated to purpose of the hearing.
Apparently, Sen Tiffany felt that this maneuver would intimidate and somehow invalidate the long string of Northwoods residents that he knew had yet to testify. He was wrong. One by one, they came to the microphone and spoke against Sen. Tiffany's Bill.
Sen. Tiffany was right that the hearing lasted for 10 hours. However, it did not last that long because of "local residents that demonstrated the success of the Flambeau Mine" and "the vast economic opportunity that lays beneath our feet" as Sen. Tiffany fantasizes. It lasted for 10 hours because of the overwhelming opposition provided by folks "up north" to his Bill.
Senator, you have every right to propose legislation for any reason, but please stop trying to justify it by lying to your constituents.
And when you hold a public hearing you should bother to take it seriously and then bother to represent it accurately. It's what a public servant does, but then, it isn't really the public that you are serving, is it?