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Five postal service facilities in Wisconsin may stay open

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UNDATED (WSAU)  Five Wisconsin mail processing centers that are targeted for closure could get a reprieve, under a new bill to address the financial problems of the U-S Postal Service. Eight senators, including Democrat Al Franken of neighboring Minnesota, introduced a bill yesterday which also seeks to modernize the postal agency. The bill would free up billions of dollars, by repealing a 2006 law that forces the Postal Service to set aside funds for up to 75 years of future health care benefits for the agency’s retirees. It’s the only federal agency which has such a requirement – and postal union officials say it’s why the service is bleeding millions in red ink.

Franken says the new bill would preserve Saturday deliveries, as well as spare many of the 200-plus processing centers due to close. At last word, officials said the facilities in Wausau, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Portage, and Kenosha would shut down sometime after April. The bill would also let the Postal Service do new things to raise revenue like notarize documents, and issue hunting-and-fishing licenses. The bill would also let allow alcohol shipments for the first time.

Supporters said it could pave the way for the Postal Service to help customers take advantage of e-mail and Internet services – the very things that have caused huge drops in mail volumes.

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