MADISON (WKOW) -- A state lawmaker told WKOW27 News his inclusion of a specific environmental requirement in a sweeping proposal to improve air quality in public buildings was not intended to benefit any one company.
WKOW27 News reported Rep. Cory Mason's proposal required any school building cleaning to meet standards established by Atlanta-based non profit firm, Greenguard Environmental Institute.
Former Racine state lawmaker Jeff Neubauer's company, Kranz Green, is one of the leading firms in the Wisconsin market in providing school cleaning products approved by GEI.
"The bill in no way provides a monopoly for any one distributor or producer," Mason (D-Racine) told WKOW27 News in a e-mail.
Mason listed several Wisconsin firms which he said carry products that meet the environmental provisions of his bill. WKOW27 News found one firm carries cleaning products with GEI approval for school use, but two other firms, while having products with environmental certifications, do not have products with GEI approval.
Mason's proposal includes certification requirements involving other reviewing firms such as Green Seal, Inc., but specifies GEI approval as mandatory for school cleaning.
Neubauer told WKOW27 News he expects no monopoly on school cleaning if the proposal becomes law.
Neubauer said there's no barriers to other Wisconsin firms purchasing cleaning products certified for school building use by GEI. The proposal also provides a two year phase-in for the environmental approval requirement.
But GEI executive director Henning Bloech told WKOW27 News he considered the favored treatment his company received as the exclusive certifying firm in school cleaning as "overboard," and recommended a broader approval approach.
Assembly natural resources committee chairperson Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison) stalled Mason's proposal Wednesday over concerns with the proposal's terms, including GEI approval exclusivity.
Some school officials and lawmakers expressed concerns over the costs of acquiring new cleaning equipment and carrying out testing to meet the proposal's environmental requirements. Black said the proposal's intent to safeguard school children and others with improved indoor air quality remained a laudable goal and planned attempts to amend the proposal.
Online reporting by Tony Galli.
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