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GOP mining bill sponsors open to meeting with Dems on changes

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Three top Republican sponsors of the bill to encourage new mining in Wisconsin said Wednesday they’d be willing to meet with Democrats who support an alternative package.

They also might incorporate elements of the Democratic package in their final bill.

Assembly Republicans Scott Suder and Mark Honadel, and Senate Republican Tom Tiffany, made their comments at a news conference outside of where a public hearing was being held on their current package.

Suder said there would definitely be changes – but they indicated that there would not be a hearing on whatever emerges, and they could not say when a mining package might be approved.

Meanwhile, tensions were high in the jam-packed hearing room as mining panels in both houses prepared to hear 12 hours of testimony.

Assembly Chair Mary Williams said lawmakers could only ask two questions of everyone who spoke. And when the bill’s Republican authors came forward, Democratic members were angry when Williams used the rule to cut off their questions.

Madison Assembly Democrat Brett Hulsey called the proceeding a “kangaroo court.” Capitol Police provided extra security, as dozens of people watched the hearing in two overflow rooms. 

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