MADISON – During yesterday’s Assembly floor session, Representative James Edming (R-Glen Flora) proudly voted in favor of Assembly Bill (AB) 682 which passed with wide bipartisan support. This bipartisan proposal would authorize the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to provide a grant of up to $1 million to maintain operations at the Verso paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids for a potential sale to a new operator. In addition, it also allows WEDC to loan up to $15 million to a new operator to purchase and reopen the mill in Park Falls.
“I am proud to have joined with my several of Assembly colleagues to bring this important legislation forward,” said Rep. Edming. “Reopening the paper mill in Park Falls and ensuring that the equipment at the mill in Wisconsin Rapids is maintained for a new potential operator is not only important for those communities, but for the timber industry that relies on these mills to purchase their products as well.”
AB 682 is the second “Mill Bill” to be considered by the legislature this session. Earlier this year, AB 367, which would have allocated federal relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), to help reopen these mills. Unfortunately, even though AB 367 was approved in the Assembly with bipartisan support it was vetoed by Governor Evers.
“Even with the setback of the veto of AB 367 my commitment has not wavered to finding a way to help our struggling loggers,” said Rep. Edming. “We have taken the next step with the passage of AB 682 and I hope that it is approved by my colleagues in the State Senate as soon as possible. Once approved by the Senate it is my hope that Governor Evers will quickly sign it into law.”
AB 682 now advances to the State Senate for further consideration.