Wisconsin weighs felony for actions against pipelines

Wisconsin weighs felony for actions against pipelines

A bipartisan proposal making it a felony to trespass or damage oil or gas pipelines Wisconsin is moving through the state Legislature.

Opponents testified at an Assembly hearing Thursday that the bill is a violation of free speech rights.

The measure builds upon a 2015 state law that made it a felony to intentionally trespass or cause damage to the property of an energy provider. The latest proposal expands the definition of energy provider to include oil and gas pipelines, renewable fuel, chemical and water infrastructure.

The Wisconsin measure has deep and broad support from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, organized labor unions, utilities and others.

Supporters downplayed its intent, calling it the fix to an oversight from the earlier law.

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