Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald began the day yesterday by calling a 12:01am floor session of the Wis. Senate to rush through a wetlands deregulation bill. If that weren’t crazy enough, later in the day he announced the dissolution of the Senate Committee on Mining Jobs and referred the controversial mining bill passed by the Assembly last month to the Joint Committee on Finance.
Fitzgerald announced the creation of the special mining jobs committee last September. The bi-partisan committee was to develop its own version of a bill that would streamline the permitting process for companies wishing to mine iron ore in Wisconsin at the same time the Assembly Jobs Committee worked on theirs.
Amidst large protests, the Assembly passed their version of the bill on January 26, 2012 after the public had been removed from the gallery for repeated outbursts. In addition to opposing the bill itself, protesters objected to the pro-forma public hearings that yielded no substantial changes in the bill, as well as the process by which the bill was written, amended, and eventually voted upon.