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Senate GOP Leader: Mining bill could get final vote in March


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - You can expect a final vote in March on a bill that makes it easier to create new mines in Wisconsin.

Majority Assembly Republicans say they’ll make mining their first major action in the new session.

Senate GOP leader Scott Fitzgerald said Monday that he expects his house to take up the package in early March. He did not offer specifics on what the bill would include. But he said it would be harder than ever to get the Indian tribes in northwest Wisconsin to support such a package – and he said it would face inevitable court challenges.

Democrats have called on the GOP to pass a mining bill which does not include a relaxing of environmental protections – and does not cut off public challenges to the DNR’s various mining decisions before permits are issued.

Both those items were in the package that was rejected last year, due to the opposition of moderate Republican Dale Schultz.

The Senate only had a one vote majority last year. Now, it has a stronger cushion with a 3 vote advantage.