With senators already recalled, a one-vote margin, and more senators under the gun, the state senate is actually planning to hold hearings, listen to constituents, and consider amendments to the industry-written mining bill. At least that's what Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, chairman of the Senate Select Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Mining Jobs, says.
The Assembly bill was entirely the work of Republican legislators; a substitute bill put forth by Democrats on Thursday with several amendments was voted down. At least two Democratic representatives said they were not even provided copies of the bill.
But Kedzie said he has to work with Democrats in the Senate because of the slim one-vote majority Republicans hold in that house. Some are already suggesting that, due to moderate Republicans in the Senate, a mining bill may have a tough time passing there.
If the senate recalls do nothing else but get this bill modified to protect the environment and give up-north localities their share of any mine profits, they will have been worth it. While I think we could help the north part of the state to prosperity better by working with, not against, environmental concerns and interests, this is at last a start.
And it will be terrific to see the senate in actual democratic processes, discussion, debate, listening, and outreach to communities near the proposed site. It's a step back towards the way Wisconsin citizens expect their government to behave.