Lafayette County Board tables SWIG ordinance | Wis.Community

Lafayette County Board tables SWIG ordinance

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Darlington, WI
Published
November 12, 2019

Criticizing the reporting of the SWIGG study

In a sometimes-contentious meeting tonight, the full Lafayette County Board let the proposed ordinance to control the release of information on the SWIGG study die for the time being. Long story short, the board passed an amendment to the already-amended ordinance so that it would allow board members and other officials to talk about the results of the study, but that the only official information would come from the press release put out by the county.  The board then voted to table the amended resolution.

The proposal caught national attention as it continued to shrink - originally it threatened to prosecute any media that published information about the study results (a study of pollution in county private wells) and to punish any county representatives that talked about or interpreted the results. At a meeting this morning the Land Conservation Committee amended it by removing the clearly-unconstitutional language restricting the press. This evening in the full board meeting it was again amended to not allow punishment of board members and other county executives. After the last amendment, the board voted 13-1 to table it. 

Tension ran high at times during the meeting as the Board Chairman Jack Sauer threatened to remove members of the public for being disruptive, saying "I’m tired of your crap at these meetings", decrying the Facebook posts about the resolution, and accusing people of being "Democrats".  When questioned about the legality of the proposal, Sauer said it was legal because a lawyer wrote it, though he has consistently refused to say who wrote it. Tonight he said that attorney Andrew Phillips worked on the amendment. 

I have included a cell-phone video of the meeting thanks to Facebook user Marci Hess.

Reporter Patrick Marley from the Journal-Sentinel was at the meeting and provides a much more detailed report.

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Video of contention with Sauer and Marion thanks to the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

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