Helena, MT – Montana's new governor has a new idea for eliminating brucellosis in the Yellowstone National Park bison herd. Brian Schweitzer's plan would do away with the current management of park bison. Under that practice, animals that leave Yellowstone are hazed back in. Those that cannot be forced back are rounded up and tested for brucellosis, with those testing positive destroyed. Governor Schweitzer says that approach simply isn't working and isn't a long-term, sustainable solution. Schweitzer's proposal would be to put every bison through a quarantine facility.
Cheyenne, WY – Legislators are trying to put some long missing teeth into the open meetings law. House bill 165 would allow individual officials to be fined up to 750 dollars for knowingly violating the law. Officials could also be removed from office. Wyoming Press Association Director Jim Angell says a strong penalty could solve many of the problems that have been occurring. Representative and former Gillette Mayor Frank Latta says while the state has had an open meetings law for years, it had little meaning because there was no penalty, which he believes has led to violations.
Cheyenne, WY – Proposed state money for the Wyoming Game and Fish department keeps getting smaller. A State Senate committee cut proposed funding for Game and Fish down from over six million to about two and a half million dollars. The concept of the measure is unique because the department traditionally does not get state General Fund money. But Director Terry Cleveland says times are different and they either need new funding sources or to cut programs. Senator Mike Massie got several amendments passed to narrow the focus of where money can be spent.
Cheyenne – A bill that would set up a system of Graduated Drivers Licenses was approved by a Senate Committee on a unanimous vote Monday. If instituted, the measure would require 15-year-olds to get several hours of driver training and impose new rules on 16-year-olds. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that while safe driving groups like the bill, some teenagers have problems with it...
Laramie, Wy – Two recent surveys suggest alcohol and marijuana use by Teton County students is rising and exceeds the state averages. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey was done in 2003 and the Prevention Needs Assessment took place last year. According to the surveys, 38 percent of Teton County sophomores reported binge drinking during 30 days prior to the survey. The statewide average was 28 percent. While alcohol may be the drug of choice, marijuana use remained