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Wis. GOP promises mining reform will be first bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State Assembly Republican leaders say the first bill they'll introduce this session will reform Wisconsin's mining laws.

Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Scott Suder released a statement Wednesday calling the bill a top priority. They said the measure will help bring thousands of jobs to the state but didn't offer any details on what changes the bill might make.

The statement comes on the same day Republic Gov. Scott Walker was scheduled to visit businesses around the state highlighting the importance of mining.

Republicans pushed a mining reform bill during the last session to help Gogebic Taconite open an iron mine near Lake Superior. The company promised the mine would create 700 jobs.

Environmentalists, though, insisted the project would devastate the pristine area. The bill ultimately died in the Senate.