NEW INFORMATION: GOP-backed mining bill clears Senate committee

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state Senate committee has approved a Republican bill designed to make it easier to open a massive new iron mine near Lake Superior.

The bill passed the Senate mining committee on a 3-2 party line vote Wednesday. The Assembly mining committee passed the same bill on a 10-6 party line vote earlier in the day. The votes send the measure on to the Legislature's finance committee, the last stop before the measure goes to the full Senate and Assembly.

Republicans insist the bill will help create hundreds if not thousands of jobs. Democrats counter the legislation is moving too quickly, relaxes environmental protections and won't create the jobs Republicans say it will.

Republicans made a number of revisions to the bill Wednesday they say address critics' concerns.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Republican-backed bill designed to make it easier to open a new massive iron ore mine near Lake Superior has passed an Assembly committee over Democratic objections.

The bill passed the committee on a 10-6 party line vote Wednesday. A Senate committee was also considering an identical bill.

Assembly Democrats argue the legislation is moving too quickly, doesn't have enough protections for the environment and won't create the jobs promised by Republicans.

But supporters say the measure takes into consideration many concerns raised by Democrats. Before passing it, the committee made several changes that Democrats had pushed for.

Republican lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker are hoping to act quickly on the measure, which they say will improve the state's regulatory process and lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Assembly Democrats want to delay any action for at least a month on a bill designed to pave the way for a new iron ore mine to be opened in northern Wisconsin.

Democrats objected Wednesday at the beginning of a committee meeting to vote on changes to the bill. Democrats asked for the panel to adjourn and reconvene a month later.

But Republicans who control the committee moved ahead with discussion of the amendments being offered by the bill's GOP sponsors.

A Senate committee is also considering the bill Wednesday. Democrats spent nearly an hour straight railing against the measure at that meeting, accusing Republicans of ignoring people in northern Wisconsin and complaining the bill weakens environmental standards.

It was unclear when either committee would vote on the measure.

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