MADISON - You can find the Republican's mining bill sitting on the Governor's desk Thursday night. The state Assembly passed the bill 58-39 just before 6:30 p.m.
Debate on the bill started around 9 a.m.
Lawmakers first had to get through 17 assembly amendments proposed by Democrats.
They have three big concerns with the GOP bill: making sure jobs are specifically created for Wisconsin workers, keeping the power to fight pollution in the hands of the taxpayers and maintaining the state's environmental protections.
Ashland Democrat Janet Bewley says she spoke with Gogebic Taconite's leaders about the mine. She quoted that conversation.
"I said, 'Do I have your word?'," Rep. Bewley said. "He said, 'Really. We don't want to change environmental law. We don't need to. Wisconsin has a strong tradition. We do not need to change environmental law,' and we shook hands.
We shook hands."
All 17 amendments were tabled on party-line votes, typically 59 to 39.
Republicans spent most of the day fighting the claims that they aren't concerned about people or the environment in the north.
"We also make sure you cannot fill in lake beds, you cannot fill in lakes," Abbotsford Rep. Scott Suder said.
"And again, you can't change the flow capacity of the stream. So, I understand the 'gotcha' amendments. But if you read the bill and talk to (legislative) council, you'll realize I'm correct, these statements are correct. Those are the facts behind the bill and to say otherwise is simply untrue."
The Governor likely will sign the bill soon, but Democrats and members of the Bad River tribe are promising to take the bill to court.
Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk drivers
MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to decide whether police can legally draw suspected drunken drivers' blood without a warrant or driver consent.
The court said it would hear three drunken driving cases, two of which involved a homicide. That announcement came nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Missouri case that could call into question Wisconsin's law.
Wisconsin since 1993 has granted police authority to draw drunken driving suspects' blood without a warrant or consent.
About 5,000 people refused to comply with police tests in 2011 and 2012.
The eventual rulings in the three cases are expected to clarify how law enforcement can gather evidence in some Wisconsin drunken driving cases.
MADISON - A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker's public union restrictions.
The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.
U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''
An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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