Board votes to bar agency workers from discussing climate change 

Source: By Eric Roston, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Wisconsin state agency enacted a ban on staff communication on climate change yesterday, calling the issue of rising global temperatures a distraction from its mission.

The state Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, a three-member panel, approved the ban at a meeting yesterday. The board oversees an agency that manages certain state properties.

“It’s not a part of our sole mission, which is to make money for our beneficiaries,” said State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk (R), a member of the board. “That’s what I want our employees working on. That’s it. Managing our trust funds.”

Adamczyk said he was concerned that the board’s executive director, Tia Nelson, had discussed climate change while working. But Nelson did so at the request of former Gov. Jim Doyle (D) in 2007 and 2008. Doyle had appointed Nelson as co-chair of a task force on the issue.

“It honestly never occurred to me that being asked by a sitting governor to serve on a citizen task force would be objectionable,” Nelson said.

The board’s only Democrat, Wisconsin Secretary of State Douglas La Follette, said the vote was the “edge of an irresponsible witch hunt”.