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.