A state Senate committee has approved a Republican bill designed to make it easier to open a massive new iron mine near Lake Superior.
The bill passed the Senate mining committee on a 3-2 party line vote Wednesday. The Assembly mining committee passed the same bill on a 10-6 party line vote earlier in the day.
The votes send the measure on to the Legislature's finance committee, the last stop before the measure goes to the full Senate and Assembly.
Republicans insist the bill will help create hundreds if not thousands of jobs. Democrats counter the legislation is moving too quickly, relaxes environmental protections and won't create the jobs Republicans say it will.
Republicans made a number of revisions to the bill Wednesday that they say address critics' concerns.
Republican lawmakers and Gov. Scott Walker are hoping to act quickly on the measure, which they say will improve the state's regulatory process and lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs.