CRANDON - Over the last few weeks, Wisconsin Democrats tried to slow down or stop Republican-authored mine permitting legislation.
They forced an hours-long session in the State Senate last week.
But now, the bill stands just one step away from Governor Walker's desk.
Don't expect the Assembly debate Thursday to be much shorter.
"It took them nine hours for them to go through the legislation," said Rep. Jeff Mursau, a Crivitz Republican.
Nine hours - for the mining bill to make it through floor debate in the State Senate last week.
Now, it heads to Mursau and the rest of the State Assembly.
"We're planning on starting Thursday morning at 9 o'clock. We're prepared to go, hopefully not through the night hours, but we're going to go, and get it passed," he said.
We talked with Mursau and Hazelhurst Senator Tom Tiffany at Sunday's Lincoln-Reagan Dinner hosted by the Forest County Republican Party.
"Over the last few years, they've built their membership up here in Forest County. Excellent turnout today," said Tiffany.
Tiffany was one of the chief authors of the mining legislation that passed the Senate last week.
"I think the debate will be similar. I think most of the amendments that will be proposed will be similar. I'm really optimistic that the Assembly will be able to pass it this week and get it to the Governor's desk," said Tiffany.
But even GOP lawmakers don't think a bill will be enacted right away.
Instead, it could destined for court.
"We assume that there's going to be lawsuits. But until a bill is passed, and those lawsuits start, and I'm sure they will, we're going be waiting year after year until something gets done," Mursau said.
With a 20-vote GOP majority in the Assembly, it seems like just about a certainty this will be the year for mining legislation to pass.
Several Republican senators, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), have said they're not ready to vote.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) says he supports Johnson on this.
"We've given Senator Johnson some suggestions," Walker said. "I think he wants to vote for it, he made the promise when he ran in '10 and then last year in 2016 that he would vote to repeal it, he wants to do that, he just wants to make sure that the repeal ultimately ends up serving the people of Wisconsin well."
Both Democratic and Republican senators say they have issues with the bill.
Some Republicans say the bill doesn't get rid of enough of the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats worry about Medicaid cuts.
Walker says he wants Wisconsin to continue to do what it does well in healthcare.
"What I've asked Senator Johnson is help us do the things we've been successful at," Walker said. "We're a top ten state when it comes to access for healthcare for citizens, we're a top ten state with the quality of our healthcare systems. We want to maintain that going forward."
On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office said the new bill would cause 22 million Americans to be uninsured.
Johnson put out a statement Tuesday saying he was glad there won't be a vote this week.
RHINELANDER - Three decades-old signs greet people coming into Rhinelander from various sides. But if you drive past them every day, you likely don't even notice them. Rhinelander wants to make sure those old signs stand out.
WAUSAU - Many of us try to honor our veterans whenever we can.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) added one more way.
The Governor visited several veteran-owned businesses across the state Tuesday for Veteran-Owned Business Day.
Tuesday afternoon he stopped at Prosthetic Orthotic Center in Wausau.
He says veteran-owned businesses are good for other veterans and the economy.
"We found statistically that veterans are about 30 percent more likely to hire fellow veterans as employees," Walker said. "So it's good all the way around."
If you are a veteran-owned business, you can register with the state at WisVets.com
That way you can get a decal that says Wisconsin Veteran-Owned for your business window or door.
You also get listed in a state veteran-owned business directory.
"We're branding it, letting the public know that businesses that are owned by veterans, letting them know whether it's in a sign in their window or whether it's on the website, or other ways that we can draw attention," Walker said.
About 390,000 veterans live in Wisconsin, and about 11 percent of the state's businesses are veteran-owned.
WAUSAU - Drugs led to four arrests and one death in north-central Wisconsin on Monday.
The Marathon County Sheriff's Office reports a 37-year-old Shawano man died after apparently overdosing on methamphetamine.
Witnesses say 37-year-old Lucas Groshek and his wife, Carolyn, were shaking and convulsing in a car in the eastern Marathon County town of Norrie. Mr. Groshek died before getting to the hospital. Mrs. Groshek, 33, is in stable condition as of Tuesday afternoon.
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