Even though they’ll lose their majority control of the Senate in January, Democrats vow to move ahead with iron ore mining legislation until then.
Senate Mining Committee Vice-Chairman Bob Jauch says they’re not waiting for the change of power. They’re going to craft a new mining bill.
“We’re still the majority, we still have a responsibility to produce a responsible proposal and we’re going to proceed," he says.
Jauch says they’ll have at least one more committee meeting, and committee Chairman Tim Cullen also would like to hold a public hearing outside of Madison. All that’s fine with incoming Republican Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
“I’m glad he’s doing it," he says. "The timing of what the Democrats did this summer, I raised questions about and thought it was somewhat suspect and political. But in the end, the members who did sit through some of those hearings said it was productive. And I don’t doubt that.”
Fitzgerald hasn’t named any Senate committees yet, but it’s possible he’d name a special mining committee. Last February, Fitzgerald disbanded his own Senate committee when it proposed different iron ore mining legislation from the Assembly version.
Jauch says that’d be a bad idea this time around, even though they’ll hold a larger majority --18 to 15 -- than their one-vote margin last winter.
“Nothing could stop them," he says. "If they wish to arrogantly believe that they can ignore the will of the voters in the last election who above all want Republicans and Democrats to work together. They don’t want any more of this partisan, ideological whiplash that the public suffers from.”
If the current Democratically-controlled senate mining committee does propose another bill, that would mean there would be three mining bills to choose from next year.