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Senate Committee Signs Off on Three Appointees to DNR's Policy-Setting Board, Rejected A Fourth

Wednesday, February 21st, 2024 -- 9:00 AM

(Danielle Kaeding, Wisconsin Public Radio) A Senate committee has signed off on three of Gov. Tony Evers’ appointees to the policy-setting board for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

But, according to Danielle Kaeding with Wisconsin Public Radio, lawmakers voted to reject confirmation of a former agency leader to the board. The Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Sporting Heritage unanimously approved confirmation of Evers’ appointees Doug Cox, Patty Schachtner and Robin Schmidt in a vote by paper ballot on Friday.

However, lawmakers voted 3-2 along party lines to reject Todd Ambs, who formerly served as the DNR’s deputy secretary. Evers appointed the four to the Natural Resources Board after the Republican-controlled Senate fired the governor’s prior nominees in October. Those who were fired include Sharon Adams, Sandra Dee Naas, Dylan Jennings and Jim VandenBrook.

Friday’s vote clears the way for the Senate to fire Ambs as well. If it does, it will be the fifth time the Republican majority has acted to remove an Evers appointee from the board that oversees environmental and wildlife policies.

The committee’s decision comes after its chair, Sen. Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond, questioned whether Ambs could serve in a bipartisan fashion during a public hearing in December.

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