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Local Legislators React to Senate Passing the Mining BillSubmitted: 02/28/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


RHINELANDER - After more than a year, a failed bill, and nine hours of debate yesterday, the Senate passed the mining bill. It will streamline the application process for a mine in Northern Wisconsin.

Senator Tom Tiffany co-authored the bill. He says it will create jobs once the mine is active, and even sooner, during the testing and sampling period.

"That miner that's on our flag; he's basically been out of work for almost forty years, other than that brief four year period with the Flambeau mine in Ladysmith. We want to put him back to work. Along with that, a lot of Wisconsinites will go back to work," says Sen. Tiffany.

Democratic opponents are concerned the bill will relax environmental protections and lead to pollution.

"There are so few guarantees for local units of government. There are so few guarantees of protecting water quality that any prudent mind would say this bill is not adequate for the people of Wisconsin," says Rep. Janet Bewley.

Sen. Tiffany expects the bill to easily pass in the Assembly next week. After that, Governor Scott Walker has to sign it into law.

Tiffany says the timeline for the bill to result in job creation will be fairly short.

"I believe it will take about three years for the process to play out. There will be jobs created because there will be a rigorous environmental review that will be done by the company. Then if they're able to get their permit after three, three and a half years, then the construction phase would start with 2,000 jobs," says Sen. Tiffany.

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Duke thinks the plaza would get people to spend more time downtown.

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MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials have pushed back the release of updates to their chronic wasting disease plan to this spring.

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STATEWIDE - City, county, and town leaders hope you Turn Out for Transportation Thursday night.  Seventy-one of the state's 72 counties will hold public forums for people to learn more about the state's transportation budget.

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You can find the location and time for your county's meeting via the link below.

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Vilas County Highway Commissioner Nick Scholtes calls the law change a great thing for the state.

"The ones that are on their phones, they seem a little oblivious to what we are doing there at the time," Scholtes said.  "They're going through the motions coming through the work zone but it's actually very scary at the same time because if they needed to stop quickly don't know if they could."

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STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point police want your help finding suspects in two possible stabbings.  The stabbings happened early Friday morning and early Sunday morning near downtown Stevens Point.

Friday, four young men got into a fight on Main Street. One man said he was stabbed in the chest.  Police say the suspect is a black man in his mid-20s, about 5' 9" tall, with a muscular build and short hair.  The victim was treated at the hospital and released.

Sunday morning, police responded to an incident at 2nd Street and Crosby Avenue. Witnesses heard glass breaking and people yelling about a stabbing.  Police don't have a victim or suspect description in that case, but they don't believe the two stabbings are connected.

If you have any information about the stabbings, call Detective Sgt. Gruber at 715-346-1518.

You can also call Portage County Crimestoppers to remain anonymous at 888-346-6600.

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