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Joint Finance Committee approves mining legislation, Democrats expect court dates in the futureSubmitted: 02/25/2013
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
Assistant News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com

Joint Finance Committee approves mining legislation, Democrats expect court dates in the future
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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/19/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Merrill Police are looking into several acts of vandalism that happened earlier this week. We talk to the police captain and a man whose garage was vandalized.

And we introduce you to a woman in the Rhinelander area who keeps an eye on homes of people who are gone for the winter to make sure they're safe.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - One Rhinelander man's love for drumming started in 6th grade.

That passion led him to start making his own drums.

Northland Music Center owner Will Roffers recently started hand-building custom snare drums.

Some of the shells he works with are pre-made, but his "stave" shells are shaped and sanded.

He used to build and race stock cars, so he knew how to weld and mold, but drum making was a bit more challenging.

"Working with wood is tough for me. You cut something wrong and there's not putting it back together ," says Will.

Will eventually wants to hand-build snare drums to sell to the public.

In the meantime, he restores and customizes sets for customers.

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MADISON - The Senate judiciary committee is set to vote on four bills that would impose tougher drunken driving penalties.

The Republican proposals would create a five-year minimum prison sentence for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and raise the minimum incarceration period for fifth and sixth offenses from six months to 18 months.

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MADISON - It would be a felony to have sex with an animal in Wisconsin under a bill circulating in the Legislature.

Under current law, having sex with an animal is a misdemeanor.

Republican state Rep. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, circulated a bill Thursday to increase the penalty. He referenced a case from the Town of Eaton involving a man who faces misdemeanor charges of animal abuse after an incident in February involving a horse.

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APPLETON - At about 100 feet when fully extended, climbing to the top of the Merrill Fire Department's new ladder truck isn't for the faint of heart.

"It's a pretty cool feeling," firefighter Rick Sparks said.

But both standing 100 feet in the air and flat on the ground, Sparks was happy to look at his new truck from all sides.

"From the first ideas of a new ladder to seeing it here today and being able to go up on that platform was pretty neat," Sparks said.

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RHINELANDER - Inside any large fabrication company, you'll find a lot of machinery. Those machines prompt plenty of safety measures inside Rhinelander's Charter NEX Films. 

"Safety is number one and you'll know that when you walk through our door," said Safety Coordinator Ted Towle. 

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RHINELANDER - Tammy Walters works to fight for veterans' rights and benefits every day.

The Oneida County Veterans Service Officer will now do that on an even bigger scale.

Walters was elected as the president of the County Veterans Service Officers Association of Wisconsin.

"I'm a retired Senior Chief from the Navy, so I'm used to being a leader," she said. "It was just an opportunity for me to kind of do what I did in the military and take a leadership position."

The state association closely monitors the state legislature on veterans issues. It gives input on bills and brings concerns to the attention of lawmakers.

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