March 16, 2013 by Barbara With
According to the League of Conservation Voters, the controversial mining bill that passed through the Assembly but was stopped in the Senate is officially dead.
A “public” hearing had been scheduled for Monday, March 19 in the Judiciary committee to discuss the consideration of the bill during a possible special session. No public input was to be allowed at that meeting, however, the meeting has now been cancelled.
Opponents to a 22-mile open pit iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills fought the lack of democratic process involved in the passage of a bill written by mining company attorneys. Environmental groups, state citizens and the Wisconsin Indian Tribes have testified against the bill consistently throughout the process. Despite overwhelming opposition, the Wisconsin Assembly passed AB426 on January 26 after removing observers from the gallery and locking the doors to the public.
Sen. Bob Jauch (D) and Sen. Dale Schultz (R) authored their own version of a mining bill which did not pass through the Joint Finance Committee. Instead, AB426 was amended, but the amendments did not pass the Senate session, sending the bill back to committee.
With the cancellation of the Judiciary Committee, Governor Walker’s John Doe investigation and the announcement that Sen. Pam Galloway (R) is resigning today, chances of a Special Session being called by the Governor to pass through a mining bill are highly unlikely. With no real bill to consider, it looks as if the mining bill is, at least for this session, officially dead.