WPR News
8:40 am
Thu February 28, 2008

Committee Approves Helium Tax

Cheyenne, WY – The Senate Revenue Committee approved a bill Thursday that would tax helium removed from the ground.

Helium is currently the only mineral commodity in Wyoming not taxed.

If the bill passes, the state would be able to collect six percent severance taxes on helium extracted from the ground.

State Department of Revenue Director Ed Schmidt said helium taxation could mean more than $2 million of additional tax revenues every year.

The bill goes to the full Senate for consideration next.

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WPR News
8:38 am
Thu February 28, 2008

Governor mostly happy with budget session

Laramie, Wyo. – Despite some disappointments, Governor Dave Freudenthal says this year's budget session is going well.

For the most part, the governor says lawmakers have heeded his advice to reign in spending.

"I think in general we have stayed within revenues," Freudenthal told reporters. "I say that cautiously because obviously there are still some bills running around up there that may or may not make it."

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WPR News
8:09 am
Thu February 28, 2008

Castle Doctrine heads to Senate

Cheyenne, WY – The ability to defend your property with deadly force and not retreat from an attack will be debated on the Senate floor.

A senate committee last night approved the so called Castle Doctrine on a 3-2 vote. The measure allows someone to defend their home and get immunity from prosecution if a death occurs. It also says that people do not have to retreat from an attack outside the home.

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WPR News
8:07 am
Thu February 28, 2008

Senate committee approves DUI bill

Cheyenne, WY – A senate committee gave unanimous approval to a bill that would make it a felony after driving under the influence three times in seven years.

Currently it is a felony if there are four convictions in five years.

Prosecutors and members of law enforcement told the committee that while they are getting a handle on DUI's, they still see increased numbers. The head of the highway patrol, Sam Powell says it's an issue that does not go away.

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WPR News
7:56 am
Thu February 28, 2008

Groups challenging illegal immigration bill

Cheyenne, WY – Some groups say that a bill pending in the
Wyoming Legislature to cut some state services to illegal immigrants would disrupt families and scare even legal immigrants from seeking help when they need it.

House Majority Floor Leader Colin Simpson says thousands of illegal immigrants in Wyoming now receive benefits. His bill would block them from services ranging from driver's licenses and non-emergency health care to post-secondary education and food assistance.

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WPR News
10:46 am
Wed February 27, 2008

Coal industry peppering the nation with pro-coal ads

Billings, MT – You may have noticed ads that promote coal as a clean alternative to foreign oil.

The coal industry is facing a bruising fight over climate change, and has gone on the political offensive this election year to ensure that no matter who wins, so does coal.

Billions of dollars in corporate profits are at stake for companies that mine, ship and burn the nation's most abundant
domestic fuel.

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WPR News
9:11 am
Wed February 27, 2008

Indian health care bill approved by US Senate

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate approved a bill today that will make it easier for Native Americans to access health care.

Under current law, only some Indian health programs can be reimbursed by Medicaid and Medicare. This bill would expand reimbursement to all programs.

It would also build and revamp health clinics on reservations, boost screening and mental health services, and try to recruit more Native Americans into health professions.

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WPR News
9:04 am
Wed February 27, 2008

UW Professor receives half a million dollars to research ethanol

Laramie, WY – A major reason ethanol isn't widely used as fuel is that the cost is too high - and one University of Wyoming researcher is hoping to change that.

Engineering Professor Patrick Johnson has received nearly half a million dollars to look for a cheaper way to make ethanol. He's focusing on enzymes, a very expensive ingredient that helps turn corn into fuel.

Johnson's strategy is to recycle those enzymes to lower costs.

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WPR News
8:58 am
Wed February 27, 2008

Juvenile justice bill heads to Wyoming House

Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming's House of Representatives will be the next to take up a bill that will provide money and possibly reform how various forms of troubled youth with are handled in the state.

Right now youth in need of supervision or other services are treated differently across the state. The bill would set up committees throughout the state and provides funding to administer the program.

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WPR News
8:56 am
Wed February 27, 2008

Senate gives initial approval to dogfighting bill

Cheyenne, WY – A bill outlawing dog or cock fighting has received initial approval in the Wyoming Senate.

Cheyenne Senator Bob Fecht, who is also Cheyenne's police chief, called it a simple bill, with an important message: those activities will not be tolerated here.

The bill says that dog or fowl fighting is a felony on a first offense. It will be debated two more times.

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