Dems seek to amend mining billOn the eve of debate in the state senate and assembly mining bills toda, Democrats have offered their own amendments.
By: By Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
On the eve of debate in the state senate and assembly mining bills toda, Democrats have offered their own amendments.
The six amendments aren’t expected to fly in the Republican controlled chambers, but Democratic Sen. Bob Jauch of Poplar figures it’s worth a shot. He says amendments announced by Republican leaders Monday reflect Democratic changes last year.
“And yet we were condemned by the Republicans for being too partisan and for being rigid environmentalists and tree huggers because we were simply seeking commonsense ways to regulate the industry. They’re now embracing these amendments.”
The Democratic amendments include taxing the tonnage of iron ore removed, instead of the net profits of a company, removes Republican changes that Jauch says hurt wetlands, allows a contested case hearing during and not after the permitting process and a ‘hail Mary’ move that replaces the entire Republican bill with the Democratic mining bill by Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville.
“They will use us as a crutch by suggesting that a couple of these amendments came from Senator Cullen’s bill. They haven’t even talked with Senator Cullen. He wouldn’t even recognize some of them on the street.”
Gov. Scott Walker is staying above the fray. At an appearance in Whitewater, he says he expects dueling changes.
“Some of the modifications they made on the amendments are good. My guess is there’ll be ongoing discussions going forward about other changes to be made before it reaches final passage in both the state assembly and state senate.”
Final passage is expected in early March. Wisconsin Public Radio is carrying today’s Senate mining committee debate live on WUWS-Ashland 90.9 FM and KUWS-Superior 91.3 FM in cooperation with Wisconsin Eye. The mining committees debate the bills starting at 10 a.m.