Laramie, WY – A lobbying group for small business is promoting universal healthcare in the United States.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses wants to have its voice heard before the 2008 presidential election.
The group's Wyoming lobbyist Tom Jones says small-business owners need help combating rising healthcare costs, and universal insurance is one way to do that. He says he also believes that universal insurance should be private to the maximum extent possible.
Green River, Wy – A petition is being circulated to force Green River's new smoking ban to the ballot box. City Attorney Ford Bussart informed the Green River City Council that the petition must be signed by 10 percent of the electors in the city in order to be successful. This would require about 450 to 500 signatures of registered voters. The ordinance would ban smoking in all Green River public buildings, including bars and clubs. It has not yet taken effect. ---
Laramie, Wy – Senators from Wyoming and Montana have introduced legislation in Congress that would allow states to collect abandoned mine land money with no strings attached. Under a bill approved by Congress and signed by the president last year, Wyoming should receive an initial $580 million over seven years and Montana should receive $58 million. Payments would come from the abandoned mine lands program. Lawmakers from the two states are frustrated that the federal government has decided that states must apply for the dollars. That
Laramie, WY – On Thursday, a US Senate committee will take up a bill that reforms a 135-year-old mining law. The bill imposes the first-ever federal royalty on certain minerals mined on public land and allows for greater environmental scrutiny of projects.
The president of Riverton-based US Energy Corp, Mark Larsen, says the reform is unnecessary and would only hurt the USS economy. He says the days are over when mining projects left huge environmental problems behind.
Laramie, WY – The fact that Senator Mike Enzi has drafted a bill to clarify that Wyoming's Abandoned Mine Land money should come directly to the state mildly amuses Governor Dave Freudenthal.
The Governor says it epitomizes some of the problems in Washington. Wyoming has been owed millions in AML money for years and Freudenthal said it appeared that the delegation resolved the issue last year.
Laramie, WY – Governor Freudenthal says it is understandable that power companies are reluctant to build major coal based power plants. That is because eventually a energy and carbon policy will be developed by congress and companies want to know what the ground rules are before they begin a major venture. Freudenthal has urged congress to try and approve rules.
Laramie, WY – The office of surface mining is preparing to appropriate $1.2 billion to states and tribes across the country in abandoned mine land money.
Despite heated criticism from mineral states like Wyoming and Montana, the agency wants to pay that money in the form of grants. Officials say the grant process is simplified, the timeline for review shortened, and the paperwork streamlined.