MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Bills easing the way to open an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin were the most heavily lobbied measures other than the state budget in the first six months of the year.
The Government Accountability Board on Thursday released figures showing that lobbyists spent 3,578 hours twisting arms on the mining bills, or more than 27 hours for each lawmaker.
Lobbyists reported spending just over $17 million during the first half of the year, a 28 percent decrease from 2011. The number of hours spent lobbying also dropped by 25 percent.
The state budget was debated during the time period in both years, but in 2011 Wisconsin was the center of a national battle over union rights thanks to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal curbing public workers' ability to collectively bargain.