MADISON - Lawmakers took another step toward making it easier to mine in Wisconsin.
The state's Joint Finance Committee passed the new Republican mining bill on a 12 to 4 vote Monday afternoon. The bill now moves to both the full state Senate and Assembly.
The GOP's bill is mainly designed to make it easier for a mining company to open a large mine. It would be on the border of Ashland and Iron Counties.
Democrats think the bill's language doesn't do enough to protect the environment.
But Ashland Representative Janet Bewley thinks the progress can be slowed in the courts.
"There are so many things in the bill that are ambiguous that will end up in court," Rep. Janet Bewley said. "I don't want to say I'm grateful to (Republicans) for writing such a sloppy bill, but the bill is written in such a form that there are many opportunities for it to end up in court."
Republicans don't think they're rushing anything. Hazelhurst Senator Tom Tiffany points to numerous changes from the first bill to this version.
He hopes it doesn't end up in the courts.
"We passed 11 amendments out of our Senate committee about two weeks ago," Sen. Tiffany said. "We've really, thoroughly vetted this bill. Will there be lawsuits, as Representative Bewley hopes? Perhaps, because some people will sue over anything in modern society. But this is really a good bill that protects the environment, while giving certainty to an applicant."
The mining bill will likely pass because Republicans control both the Senate and Assembly. Senator Tiffany thinks the Senate will take up the bill Wednesday.
Burke releases rural jobs plan, focuses on schools, health & growth
ACROSS WISCONSIN - A new job plan from Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke focuses on her economic objectives with rural Wisconsin.
Many parts of Wisconsin's rural areas, like the Northwoods, lags behind the rest of the state economically; for example, five of the ten Wisconsin counties with the worst unemployment rate in the state are in the rural portions of the Northwoods, according to June unemployment numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Her focus is on growing the rural economy, boosting healthcare and improving schools.
RHINELANDER AND MINOCQUA - Summer gets us outside playing games on the lake or in the yard, but with cooler temperatures this year, trips to the lake may not be as popular.
That impacts certain businesses in a good way. Imaginuity toys stores in Minocqua and Rhinelander have noticed a difference in the toys they've sold this summer.
"We're definitely getting a lot more traffic with the cooler temperatures. A lot more people in the door, which we're loving. We are seeing a lot more people buying more project based items. They're buying a lot of the active play but not so much the water active," said Jessica Hatch, Store Manager.
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