What’s the Concern?

  • This bill expands current law to include water, oil, and petroleum property owned, leased, or operated. Under current Wisconsin law, it is already a crime to damage property. This law does not create any new protections.
    Instead it:
    • Constitutes a new felony violation for non-violent behavior, even though felony violations have historically been used a person who was intending to cause harm
    • A fundamental aspect of criminal law in the United States is that people may not be punished for crimes unless they have notice that their behavior is criminal. The bill removes the requirement of notification regarding the status of the land as private and closed to entry and does not require any additional notification with respect to a land’s status as “energy provider property.”
  • 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
  • The bill makes it a felony to trespass on land that oil pipelines pass through. Oil pipelines operate on private and public land, not just company-owned land. This means landowners and Tribal members could be arrested for trespassing and charged with a felony for being on their own land as criminal law statutes apply within all reservations except the Menominee Reservation
  • Oil pipelines run through private and public lands, including National Forests, County Parks, and schools-the law could be enforced against private landowners, Tribal members, and people using public lands. Even if someone where able to prevent a conviction, it would be costly to hire a lawyer to do so.
  • The bill creates unnecessary problems with enforcing the law and interpreting the intent of the convicted.
  • This bill will have a disproportionate impact on People of Color including Indigenous People as they are most likely to be charged and convicted of a felony.
  • Being charged with a felony has drastic impacts on people, and if charged this can result in prison sentences, hefty fines, and loss of the right to vote. Even if someone were to avoid getting convicted, it would be scary, time-consuming, and expensive to hire a lawyer to protect you.
  • The bill could create a chilling effect on protests, for people who won’t want to exercise their right to protest as a result of fear of penalization.

Read the full list of talking points here

Read about other misconceptions of the bill here

Watch Chairman Wiggins of the Bad River Bad of Lake Superior Ojibwe statement:

Other background:

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