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Texas Country Musician Paul Cauthen Live On Wyoming Sounds

Feb 17, 2017
Paul Cauthen

Country musician Paul Cauthen live on 2/17/17 during Wyoming Public Radio's Wyoming Sounds.

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The Wyoming Game and Fish Department will begin collaring elk in the Bighorn Mountains as part of a study on brucellosis, a disease found primarily in elk and bison that can spread to livestock and result in animals aborting their young.

Nancy Watkins

My husband and I are North Carolina residents, but have had a home in Jackson for many years. Until our recent retirement, we were not able to spend extended time in Wyoming.

This is our first winter stay and for the first time, we brought our “girls” with us. Even though we have had an excellent caretaker at home, there was no way we were going to leave Lily, 12-years-old and blind, and Roxie, 9-years-old, for the winter.        

P. SOLOMON BANDA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Last week, legislators cut the salaries of two tribal liaison positions in half, from $160,000 to $80,000. Northern Arapaho liaison Sergio Maldonado has since resigned.

Only two years ago, lawmakers agreed to let the state take over the program, allowing the governor to appoint liaisons to represent the state’s two tribes instead of requiring the tribes to do so. Maldonado said he recognizes that the decision was financial and not personal, but he said the reduced salary will mean part-time pay for full-time work.

F.E. Warren Air Force Base

The F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne is one of three bases in the United States with an operational intercontinental ballistic missile system, and it’s due for an upgrade.

Northrop Grumman, along with Lockheed Martin and Boeing, are in the midst of a bidding process to get the job. Carol Erikson, Vice President of Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, visited Cheyenne Thursday to meet with local community leaders at the area Chamber of Commerce.

Carol S. Bock

The Endangered Species Act was under Senate scrutiny Wednesday, when the Environment and Public Works Committee met to discuss how to reform the law.  

Former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal attended the meeting chaired by Senator John Barrasso. Both politicians said that while the ESA is important, it needs an update, and mentioned the Western Governor’s Association’s efforts to come up with specific recommendations for reform.  

University of Wyoming

On Wednesday, the University of Wyoming launched a new sexual assault prevention program.

President Laurie Nichols sent a letter out to all UW community members citing concern with the prevalence of sexual assault in higher education.

According to her research about one in five women and 6 percent of men are victims of sexual assault while in college. In response she launched a working group to pull together diverse strategies into a comprehensive response, which she said is unique.

Jennifer Martin

The Peggy A. Kelley Wyoming Cannabis Act of 2016 will not appear on the 2018 General Election Ballot. The applicants who brought forth the effort to legalize marijuana in Wyoming were unable to collect the required 25,000 signatures by the February 14 deadline.

Frank Latta is the director of Wyoming NORML – The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – one of the groups helping collect signatures. He said inexperience may have played a role in coming up short.

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People packed the Senate Education Committee meeting Wednesday to discuss House Bill 236 that will attempt to address the state’s education funding shortfall. The bill differs from the Senate approach to the problem in that it proposes some funding reductions, but holds off deep and immediate cuts to education by using legislative savings.

Should those savings dip to $500 million, a half percent sales and use tax would go into affect to generate more revenue. Representatives of the energy industry say that tax would hurt their industries.

Wikimedia Commons

Two bills that would remove gun free zones in public places were approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The first bill, House Bill 136, would  allow those with concealed carry permits to legally carry guns on the University of Wyoming and Community College campuses, including sporting events.

Supporters of the bill said that allowing people to carry guns will make the campuses safer. Many argued that it would especially provide protection for women.

Pexels

The Wyoming Senate passed a bill Wednesday to require internet retailers like Amazon to collect sales tax on sales to Wyoming residents. 

Only three Senators opposed the bill. Lander Senator Cale Case said he thinks the smooth passage of the bill has to do with creating a more level playing field between local and online retailers.

Wyoming Public Media

The Wyoming Senate passed a bill Wednesday to give local school districts the responsibility to decide how public school teachers evaluated. The power currently lies with the state.

House bill 37 was revived after a reconsideration vote during its second reading. And it passed its third reading with 3 dissenting votes. School districts and teachers across the state have widely supported the bill.

Big Horn County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

Flooding in the town of Worland started to subside as an ice jam there finally cleared.

The Wyoming National Guard was called into the town on Saturday to help fill and stack sandbags, and about 100 homes were evacuated because of the water. Those people were allowed to return Tuesday afternoon, but Lieutenant Colonel Paul Phillips with the National Guard said they are keeping their eyes on the ice from that jam as it travels north.

Wyoming State Legislature

The Wyoming House of Representatives and the Wyoming Senate have both passed their respective versions of the budget bill. The two bodies will now swap bills for consideration before a conference committee meets to select one final bill to adopt.

The Senate’s version cuts $91 million from public education funding, marking the largest difference between the two different versions.

Speaker of the House Steve Harshman is a school teacher in Casper, but Jackson Representative Andy Schwartz said that’s not why the House took a less severe approach to K-12 cuts.

Tennessee Watson

School business managers asked the legislature to remove a six percent interest on funds borrowed temporarily from the common school account. They also asked that schools be allowed to repay those funds in June instead of December. 

The bill narrowly passed the committee of the whole.

Proponents of the bill argued that penalizing schools doesn’t make sense when cash flow issues are caused by payment schedules decided by the state. The bill sailed through the House, but is now being met with scrutiny in the Senate.

Tennessee Watson

According to a bill that passed the Senate Monday, students at the University of Wyoming and the state’s community colleges should own the material they store on school servers and send in school email accounts. The bill further specifies that writing and correspondence will be kept private unless students are otherwise notified.

The bill passed by a narrow vote of 16 - 13, and is up for review by the governor.

Tennessee Watson

Wyoming schools use digital tools and software to support teaching and school operations, but a bill to protect digital student data was defeated on a tie vote.

The data includes everything from student name and home address to test results and cafeteria food purchases for children in preschool through 12th grade. The protections in the bill were meant to prevent the sale or sharing of this information, and to block the possibility of its usage for targeted advertising.

Wikimedia Commons

The House Education Committee passed a bill Friday that provides updated guidelines for virtual education in Wyoming.

House Bill 35 sets out how students taking courses online should be enrolled in schools, and how school districts will be funded when it comes to students who split time between different programs.

The bill also changes existing language concerning “distance education” to “virtual education”

Kari Eakins with the Wyoming Department of Education said this could potentially open up more opportunities for students around Wyoming.

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The State Senate approved a budget amendment Friday that mandates school districts cannot use state funds to sue the legislature. The amendment passed 20 to 10.

The language was added as a footnote to the Budget Bill, and is similar to legislation that died in both the House and a Senate committee.

Sheridan Senator Dave Kinskey was in favor of the amendment, and said Wyoming could avoid mistakes of the federal government by approving it.

Wyoming State Legislature

The Senate passed its version of the budget Friday, after considering 34 amendments and adopting 18 to the bill. One of the largest amendments passed would cut $91 million from K-12 education funding.

One amendment intended to strip a measure cutting two percent of salaries of 100 series government employees, not including those in public education, generated considerable discussion.

The City of Laramie has hired a consultant to convince shops and restaurants to set up storefronts there.

City Manager Janine Jordan said in a press release that even though Laramie has a thriving downtown, the community has room for more retailers, especially when she compares it to other college towns.

Bob Beck

A downturn in the energy economy has caused a crisis in Wyoming education funding. K-12 funding is projected to see a $400 million shortfall at the end of the current two-year budget cycle.

That deficit will grow if lawmakers can’t find a way to address the shortfall, but the House and Senate are taking different approaches towards solving the problem. During an interview Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe of Cody repeated a sentence that’s become a cliché this session.

Tennessee Watson

The Wyoming State Board of Education was born 100 years ago during the 1917 Legislative Session. Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson invited Pete Gosar to reflect on the history of the board, and his final months as Board Chair.

Appointees only get to serve one term, and Gosar said that’s part of what makes the State Board of Education an effective institution. For more on the history of the Wyoming State Board of Education visit their website.

 

Wyoming Legislature

State Representatives Marti Halverson and Cathy Connolly are unlikely allies. Halverson has been a supporter of religious rights bills in the past, while Connolly is the state’s only openly gay lawmaker. But there’s one thing they do agree on: the need for an in-depth study Wyoming’s gender wage gap which reports say is the worst in the nation.

Department of Energy

Wyoming's budget deficit has forced the University of Wyoming to reduce spending. Dr. Anne Alexander, Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Education, said "at this point every possible thing that’s 'discretionary' has been cut. There are departments without phones, larger classes, hiring freezes, and increased teaching loads."

Maggie Mullen

44 of the University of Wyoming’s students come from the seven different countries included in President Donald Trump’s travel suspension. The executive order is now in the midst of what will likely be a long, legal battle. Until the situation gets resolved, University President Laurie Nichols has discouraged the impacted students from traveling outside the U.S. Many of the students are now left with limited options and hard choices.

Wyoming Public Media

Wyoming’s junior senator, John Barrasso, is now chairman of the committee tasked with crafting President Donald Trump’s call for a massive infrastructure proposal. Trump wants to rebuild roads, bridges, railways and airports across the country. 

Senator Barrasso is known as a penny pinching conservative, but when it comes to transportation he thinks Washington has been the one pinching Wyoming pennies.

Micah Lott

  

As one of his first actions in office, President Trump signed an executive order granting his approval for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Then, on January 31, the Army Corp of Engineers announced they’d grant the final permit.

The next day, about 100 protesters clashed with Morton County Police. 23-year-old Northern Arapaho member Micah Lott from Wyoming was among them. Over the phone from North Dakota where he continues to protest the pipeline, Micah told Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards the story of his arrest.

Richard Cahan

A new book compiles government photos of Japanese-Americans in World War II incarceration camps, including Heart Mountain in Wyoming. For the first time, some of the people in the photos have been interviewed. 

Those interviews are included in Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II. Author Richard Cahan joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Erin Jones to talk about the stories of the photos.

National Museum of Wildlife Art

Adam Duncan Harris is the curator of art and research at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and is a recipient of one of the 2017 Governor’s Art Awards. He sat down with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about the award and his approach to managing the museum's collection. 

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