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Bob Beck

Committee Passes Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

A controversial piece of legislation intended to let people practice their religious beliefs in daily life received approval from the House Judiciary committee. House Bill 83 is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Republican Nathan Winters of Thermopolis wants to keep the government from forcing people to do things that are contrary to their religious beliefs. Linda Burt of the American Civil Liberties Union fears it could go too far. “Deny someone the right to marry because they...
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Topic Of The Week

What do you think about a proposal to require four years of math in Public High Schools?

Want To Win A $1000 Visa Gift Card?

They say the early bird gets the worm. But what if the early bird got the cash? When you make a contribution to WPR between January 1st and March 23rd, you'll be entered in our early bird drawing.

Patricia Lavin

Scientists at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center are analyzing 250 tissue samples of elk, wild bison, and livestock in an effort to better understand how the disease brucellosis spreads.

Brucellosis sickens large mammals like elk and cattle, and can cause them to abort their young.  U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Pauline Kamath says a commonly held theory has been that Yellowstone’s wild animals have been infected with brucellosis by elk on Wyoming feed grounds. But her data shows that may not be as common as previously thought.

Concealed guns would be allowed in schools, on college campuses, and in government meetings under a bill that will be considered by the Wyoming House of Representatives. 

The bill would repeal gun free zones and was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on an 8-1 vote. Gun supporters say the legislation could keep schools safe, but education organizations and State Superintendent Jillian Balow oppose the measure. Chris Boswell of the University of Wyoming says the bill is problematic.

The Senate Labor and Health Committee has approved a Medicaid Expansion bill on a 4 to 1 vote.

The bill models the Wyoming Department of Health’s Share plan, but also includes a Health and Wellness account that participants would use for medical co-pays. Despite the vote, the bill continues to have lukewarm support. 

Casper Republican Bill Landen voted for the bill in committee, but he may not support it on the Senate floor.

Ucross Resident Karen Skolfield Reads Poem

18 hours ago

Karen Skolfield recently spent two weeks in Ucross, Wyoming, on a writing fellowship. When she’s not tracking Wyoming wildlife, she teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts. Her book Frost in the Low Areas won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry; new poems appear in Indiana Review, MIRAMAR, Pleiades, Rattle, Southword Journal, Structo, and others.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Media

A legislative committee considering legislation to expand Medicaid will now consider a second expansion proposal. 

This proposal is one favored by Governor Matt Mead and crafted by the Wyoming Department of Health with help from federal health officials. The so-called Share plan legislation is sponsored by Gillette Republican Michael Von Flatern and three other Republicans.

"To show those in the legislature as well as the rest of the public that the Republicans, there is actually quite a few of us that consider this the way to go, and we need to expand Medicaid.”

Aaron Schrank/WPR

All day Wednesday, volunteers will be canvassing Wyoming’s homeless shelters and streets in an effort to come up with a sort of homeless census.  

The annual effort is what’s called a homeless ‘point-in-time’ count. The results are used by agencies like the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine how much funding and assistance is needed in the state.

Brenda Lyttle with the Department of Family Services is Wyoming’s homeless coordinator. She says last year, Wyoming’s count of homeless residents was about one-thousand.

Bob Beck

A controversial piece of legislation intended to let people practice their religious beliefs in daily life received approval from the House Judiciary committee. House Bill 83 is called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Republican Nathan Winters of Thermopolis wants to keep the government from forcing people to do things that are contrary to their religious beliefs. 

Linda Burt of the American Civil Liberties Union fears it could go too far.

Bob Beck

For years Wyoming has had one of the lowest Beer taxes in the nation and soon it may not be taxed at all. The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that removes the beer tax that’s been around since the 1930’s.

For several years local governments have tried to increase the tax to get more money to pay for substance abuse issues in their communities, but those bills rarely go anywhere.

Studio Sessions: Ian McFeron Band

Jan 27, 2015
Anna Rader

Seattle singer-songwriter Ian McFeron has dust on his boots from many tours across the country (including quite a few stops in Wyoming), reflected in the stories he weaves through his songs. Here are a couple of favorites from his albums Summer Nights and Time Will Take You; we’re hoping the as yet unreleased ‘Moses’ makes it onto McFeron’s third Nashville studio album, which is currently in the works.

Back to the Farm (Life is Good)

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