Assembly Republicans have decided to hold a hearing on mining legislation in northern Wisconsin, despite earlier claims one was not needed.
The Assembly jobs committee has scheduled a hearing on the controversial bill for next Wednesday at a motel in Hurley. The move comes after stiff criticism for holding their only planned public hearing near Milwaukee, hundreds of miles away from the site of a proposed iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron Counties. The legislation is designed to streamline the approval process for that project.
The hearing will take place just a few days after Democrats hold their own unofficial meeting on the bill in Ashland, which organizers says was needed because Republicans were showing no interest in the views of northern Wisconsin.
The Assembly is expected to begin debating the bill when members return to Madison later this month.
UPDATE: Democrats have cancelled a hearing on the bill that was scheduled to take place this weekend in Ashland. In a statement, Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) said “we were pleased to learn that the Assembly Committee on Jobs has reversed their original decision and decided to hold a public hearing” next week in Hurley. Jauch added “while we believe that a Saturday hearing would provide more convenient access for local residents, we also believe that having one hearing chaired by Democrats and another chaired by Republicans only days later would lead to confusion and create more division on an issue that has already polarized our community.”