Washington, DC – The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has denied federal protection for the Yellowstone cutthroat trout, for the second time in five years. A court order required the agency to reconsider its 2001 decision NOT to list the cutthroat as an endangered species. In its most recent findings, Fish and Wildlife acknowledges the cutthroat faces challenges, but says many former threats to the fish no longer exist. Environmental groups are denouncing the latest ruling, calling it another example of the Bush administration putting politics before science.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyomingites will continue to pay a sales tax on food. A legislative committee killed a bill Tuesday that would have removed the tax on groceries. Recent polls showed overwhelming support for this effort. But five members of the house revenue committee, all Republicans, voted to keep the sales tax on food in place. Representative Gerald Gay, says the reason he voted against the bill is because he supports some other tax relief plans. Gay and the committee did pass bills to give tax relief or refunds to low income, elderly and disabled people.
Cheyenne, WY – Police in Wyoming are having trouble with a loophole in the law. Right now if officers go into a house party where there is underage drinking, they can only arrest people who have alcohol in their hands or are drunk. But, the state House gave final approval to a bill that would allow police to cite anyone under 21 who has consumed alcohol. Representative Keith Gingery sponsored this bill. Gingery says police officers already carry breathalyzers. The bill is now headed to the state senate for approval.
Cheyenne, Wy – Vice President Dick Cheney returned to the place where his political career started Friday to speak to the Wyoming legislature. During the speech he only made passing reference to his hunting accident last weekend. The Vice President was greeted with loud applause from members of the house and senate. During the speech he mostly spoke about the respect he has for other Wyoming politicians and his love for the state of Wyoming. Cheney never served in the state legislature, but he was an intern here in 1965.
Cheyenne, Wy – A panel of the state legislature gave its approval to a bill that is intended to improve the quality of early childcare in the state. It's a priority of the governor and the first lady says it is the most important piece of legislation she has seen in her 30 years of working with lawmakers. It would set up a rating system for child care providers.
Cheyenne, Wy – Penalties for drinking and driving may get tougher soon. The state house gave initial approval to a bill that is less lenient on repeat drunk drivers. The proposal would mean three convictions of driving under the influence in seven years would be a felony. Currently a driver has to have four convictions in five years. Representative Beckett Hinckley has spearheaded this effort for a couple years now and thinks it is critical to resolve.
Yellowstone – For the first time in more than 150 years, the Nez Perce exercised their treaty rights to hunt buffalo near Yellowstone. A conversation with hunt organizer and Nez Perce member James Holt.