Cheyenne, WY – Two proposals to cut property taxes are emerging from a crowded field of tax relief bills pending in the Wyoming Legislature.
A House bill would establish a property tax refund program for low-income state residents. A Senate bill, meantime, calls for cutting the assessment rates on all industrial and personal property, including residential real estate.
The House has voted to give preliminary approval to its refund program. It's sponsored by the House Revenue Committee.
Cheyenne, WY – Gov. Dave Freudenthal has joined officials from the Southeast in opposing a plan to import about 20,000 tons of nuclear waste from Italy to the United States.
The waste would be shipped to Utah for disposal. Freudenthal wrote the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology and said there's no reason the United States should accept the waste.
Freudenthal said the United States has enough trouble as it is finding storage space for its own nuclear waste.
Laramie, WY – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is asking the Bureau of Land Management to revise its plan for oil and gas drilling on the Pinedale Anticline.
The EPA's Larry Svoboda says the current plan could contaminate ground water with the carcinogen Benzene and put an unhealthy level of ozone in the air, a pollutant that can cause respiratory problems.
Cheyenne, Wyo – A bill that would put greater restrictions on who gets Wyoming benefits has passed a legislative committee.
The bill is sponsored by Colin Simpson of Cody who is trying to make sure those who get federal and state benefits are actually legal aliens.
But at least one person is concerned about the bill. During the committee hearing, Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association Director Lynn Birleffi said that she fears that the bill will put some unfair burdens on her industry.
Laramie, WY – The state's sage grouse program coordinator says the Game and Fish Department must balance its rules on hunting the bird in order to protect public perception. Tom Christiansen told the state's Game and Fish Commission that severely limiting sage grouse hunting could tip the scale toward listing the bird as endangered.
But Christiansen adds that with too few restrictions, industry won't feel compelled to protect grouse habitat. The Game and Fish Commission is discussing the rules for this year's hunting season.
Cheyenne, WY – The legislature shifts into budget mode this week as both the house and senate begin initial work on the budget bill. Most of the work of the appropriations committee will simply be adopted, but debate is expected in several areas including money for local government. Senator Ray Peterson of Cowley is an appropriations committee member. He favors keeping funding for local government strong, and thinks the current budget does that.
Cheyenne, Wyo. – The Wyoming Legislature is considering a novel pilot project that could lead to health insurance reform.
The bill's sponsor Charles Scott of Casper worked with private individuals and the governor's office to draft the legislation that focuses on low-income populations and attempts to develop a health insurance pool.
Scott says they are trying to devise a way to provide health insurance, without bankrupting the state.