Laramie, Wy – The current Speaker of the House says the legislature's Tribal Relations committee had to mend some fences during a meeting in Lander this week. Fred Parady says that's due to the fact that the governor's tough language in dealing with the Northern Arapaho tribe. He says that's probably due to the fact that the governor is a prosecutor and is used to speaking in strong language, but Parady says that is not advancing common understanding.
Laramie, Wy – Some environmental groups have intervened in a lawsuit filed by agriculture and outfitter organizations concerning Wyoming's wolf management plan. The state has also sued the federal government who rejected the states plan for managing wolves because the Department of Interior is concerned that too many wolves could be killed if they wandered outside of a boundry surrounding the national parks. Among those intervening is the Wyoming Chapter of the Sierra Club. Director Steve Thomas says the state simply needs a new plan.
Pinedale, Wy – A legislative committee will go forward with a plan to set up a Wildlife Habitat fund. The committee looked at three bills, including one by the Governor and will try and meld the three together. House Recreation, Parks and Natural Resources Chairman Mike Baker says it is something that has been tried in the past and seems to be gaining momentum this year.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S Department of Justice has released figures showing that the number of people in Wyoming prisons increased by nearly eight percent in 2003. The actual increase in the number of prisoners is up by almost 150.
Cheyenne, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal believes the legislature revisit the idea of a Rainy Day Account. Lawmakers formed such an account during the revenue boom of the 1970's. Freudenthal says such a fund makes more sense then putting money into the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund. He says that fund has $270-300 Million going into it by viture of how the state consitution works. Freudenthal thinks the good revenue times will eventually end and the state should have a fund to draw on then for needed operating revenue.
Pinedale, WY – Sublette County's natural gas boom has kept motels in Pinedale busy. Motels that used to have year-round occupancy rates of around 50% are now enjoying rates of 90% or more. The prices for those rooms are also going up. $65 to $100 a night at the Rivera Lodge cabins, for example. The current motel situation may not be sustainable, though. Soon, many gas workers are likely to be living in "man camps" that are slated to go up around the area. One camp is expected to have 102 beds after the first phase and 106 after the second.
Cheyenne, WY – 21% of laborers in Wyoming last year came from outside of the state. In the early 90's that figure was about 18.5%. Tom Gallagher manages the Research and Planning Section at the state Employment Department. He says companies look out of state for workers when a large number of people who can work are working, when unemployment is low, and when the job market is growing. Nonresident employees in Wyoming often work in construction, tourism and oil and gas.
Torrington, WY – A Jackson hunter is pushing for restrictions on transporting parts of deer and elk carcasses from areas known to have chronic wasting disease. Shane Moore asked the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission Friday in Torrington to consider regulations that would require hunters to leave behind infectious materials, like the brain and spine. Moore does not believe the Game and Fish is doing enough to slow the spread of CWD. And he says a recent study shows the disease can be transmitted through carcasses and he thinks the agency should exercise caution because of that.
Torrington, WY – A new proposal is out that talks about how grizzly bears will be managed in specific portions of western Wyoming after delisting. Concerns were raised about the grizzly management plan adopted in 2002 and exactly what will happen inside the boundary that was established then. This new plan marks off the area where grizzly presence is biologically suitable and socially acceptable. John Emmerich with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says he thinks it's a good compromise.
Laramie, Wy – Three counties in Wyoming approved sales tax increases during this week's general election. Taxes were passed in Crook, Goshen and Washakie counties. They paid for such projects as water and street improvements, new buildings and additions to existing ones. However, similar tax proposals were defeated in Campbell, Natrona and Fremont counties.
Cheyenne, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal doesn't expect any big changes despite Democrats losing four state legislative seats Tuesday. Freudenthal expects to have the same relationship he's always had with the Republican-dominated legislature. He says it's not like the Democrats had been the majority party and now are no longer. Freudenthal says legislative Democrats typically held their own positions on issues that sometimes differed from his.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming Department of Transportation Director Sleeter Dover hopes to seek funding in the next legislative session to hire ten additional Highway Patrol Troopers. Noting the Highway Patrol is short about 110 officers, Dover says he'd like to getr up to full strength over the next decade. He says his agency couldn't recruit 110 officers right away and if they did, they wouldn't have the money to train and equip them. Governor Dave Freudenthal agrees with the concept of adding ten additional officers.
Laramie, Wy – The National Park Service has released its long awaited plan on Snowmobile Use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. A study of the plan revealed no significant impact. It allows 720 guided snowmobiles a day into Yellowstone and 140 Snowmobiles in Grand Teton. It also requires the use of the best available technology and will be in effect for three years. The Deputy Director of the Wyoming Travel and Tourism Division Alan Dubberly says they are pleased to have a final plan, so they can begin advertising.
Laramie, Wy – The Game and Fish Department has a new proposal that would establish a boundary for grizzly bear habitat in the state. This would go into effect after Wyoming takes over management of grizzlies after federal protections are removed. But, several conservation groups wrote to the Game and Fish opposing this plan. The Wyoming Outdoor Council's Meredith Taylor says bears should be allowed to move anywhere they can survive. Taylor says Montana does not have boundaries for grizzly habitat and that is best way to foster the recovery of the species.
Topic: The National Park Service has released its plan on Snowmobile Use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; Guest: Alan Dubberly, Deputy Director of the Wyoming Travel and Tourism Division.
Topic: Thoughts of local voters about the elections.
Topic: Bob Beck speaks with Kim Ibac about a program to help students learn history.
Cheyenne, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal is surprised and delighted about the mixed results of four constitutional amendments on Tuesday's ballot. Citizens voted down constitutional amendments A and D and passed B and C, although C is headed for a recount. C would let the legislature set up a medical review panel to week out frivolous malpractice lawsuits. Freudenthal hopes it survives the recount. As for the defeat of D, which would have allowed the capping of non-economic damages, Freudenthal says the public wants a different approach.
Cheyenne, WY – Losing a city council race is a distinct possibility for those who try to make things happen. That's the assessment of Wyoming Association of Municipalities Director George Parks, who watched several incumbents and even some of his board members lose races. Laramie citizens voted out all the incumbents, but Parks says that's just part of the game. He says when councilmen make tough decisions, such as raising water rates, they risk losing re-election bids. Parks says people pay much closer attention to city councils because they impact the most people.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming voters turned out for yesterday's (Tuesday) general election in numbers not seen in the last 26 years. The Secretary of State's office counted 245-thousand-646 voters unofficially statewide. That is 65 percent of the residents who are eligible to vote in the state. Since 1978, the next highest turnout of eligible voters was 63 percent in the 1992 general election. Secretary of State Joe Meyer says yesterday's election turnout exceeded the number of registered voters in the state because
Laramie, Wy – Unofficial results from the Secretary of State's office has two of the four constitutional amendments passing and two failing. Voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have let lawmakers consider limiting jury awards for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits, but backed a companion measure aimed at weeding out frivolous lawsuits. Unofficial tallies show the caps Amendment "D" failed outright, with 114,829 votes yes and 118,090 votes against. The
Lararmie, Wy – This afternoon the interim city manager in Laramie announced that unofficially voters supported the smoking ban ordinance. About 12 thousand people cast ballots and the yes side won by 360 votes. Mayor Fred Homer was defeated in the election, but says the result of the special election is the best news he's heard in days and he's eager that people that have not been able to go into certain establishments because of the smoking will be able to go soon.
Laramie, Wy – At least four incumbent Democratic state lawmakers have been ousted, further cementing the Republican stronghold on the Statehouse. In a southeast Casper district, Senator Keith Goodenough lost to G-O-P challenger, political newcomer and business owner Kit Jennings, 51 percent to 49 percent. Goodenough was turned out after four years in the House and the last ten in the Senate. Democratic Representative Saundra Meyer of Evanston lost to Republican Bruce Barnard, an Evanston attorney.
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming voters rejected a proposed constitutional Amendment that would have allowed legislators to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association President Kent Spence was delighted, saying that voters were not fooled by insurnace companies. Doctor Robert Monger of the Wyoming Medical Society says high insurance rates will continue to be a problem and now they need to try another avenue to solve it. He says they are willing to consider all options, including self insurance.
Laramie, Wy – Barbara Cubin has won re-election by the narrowest margin since she was first elected to Congress. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Cubin had 55 percent to 42 percent for Wilson businessman Ted Ladd. Libertarian Lewis Stock (stuke) claimed three percent. Cubin won Wyoming's lone House seat by a 12-point margin in 1994. She was re-elected by margins from 1996 through 2002, including by 38 points in 2000. Cubin says she's NOT surprised that this year's race was so
Laramie, Wy – Wyoming voters have approved a constitutional amendment dealing with local government spending for economic development projects. With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Amendment B had 66 percent "yes" votes and 34 percent "no" votes. The measure allows the Legislature to give local governments more leeway in spending money on job-creation projects. A separate ballot measure was also ahead but was close. With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Amendment A had 56 percent yes and 44 percent no.
Wyoming – Wyoming voters decided against changing the constitution and allowing legislators to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. It was a crushing defeat for doctors who argued that it was a critical tool in their effort to fight skyrocketing medical malpractice rates. Voters have given tentative approval to Amendment C, which would allow lawmakers to set up a pre-screening panel in order to weed out frivolous cases. But the main focus over the last several weeks has been on the pros and cons of capping damages.