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Zepnick Pushes for Price Gouging Protection
Bill to Outlaw Price Gouging in Wisconsin Still Blocked by GOP Madison – State Representative Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) today called for the passage of his Anti Price Gouging Bill (AB786/SB373). Amid $3.00/gallon gas and calls for an investigation from President Bush, Republican Leadership has so far refused to budge on the issue. “After hurricane Katrina, we saw record gas prices in Wisconsin,” said Zepnick. “This past winter, we saw record home heating costs in Wisconsin. This summer it looks like we are going to see new, higher record gas prices – all while the oil industry shows record profits. This is not a pretty picture and we need a law in place to protect consumers against price gouging.” In an early morning press conference today, President Bush stated: What [Americans] don't want and will not accept is manipulation of the market. And neither will I… I'm directing the Department of Justice to work with the FTC and the Energy Department to conduct inquiries into illegal manipulation or cheating related to the current gasoline prices… In other words, this administration is not going to tolerate manipulation. “President Bush will not tolerate price gouging, but will Wisconsin’s Republican Party?” asked Zepnick. “Even if you don’t agree about whether price gouging has occurred, we should all be able to agree that there needs to be a law on the books protecting Wisconsin consumers against even the possibility of price gouging.” In the same speech today, President Bush mentioned that the FTC and the U.S. Attorney General are contacting all 50 state attorneys general to urge them to investigate possible illegal price manipulation within their state. In a letter sent from U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, Gonzales urges states to “enforce vigorously the laws of your State against any anticompetitive, anticonsumer conduct in the petroleum industry.” Unfortunately, Wisconsin has no law against price gouging, making it impossible for Wisconsin to heed the call of this Administration. “Wisconsin consumers are worried about price gouging,” concluded Zepnick. “President Bush and Attorney General Gonzales are worried about price gouging. Legislative Democrats are worried about price gouging. Everyone is worried about price gouging except for Wisconsin’s Legislative Republicans. It’s time they get with the picture.” -30STATE CAPITOL, P.O. BOX 8953, MADISON, WI 53708 ♦ (608) 266-1707 FAX: (608) 282-3609 ♦ TOLL-FREE: 1-888-534-0009 ♦ EMAIL: Rep.Zepnick@legis.state.wi.us