Laramie, Wy – As the summer goes on the chance of contracting West Nile Virus increases. That's the word from the Wyoming coordinator for the virus, Terry Creekmore. He says the peak of the year should be the first two weeks of August. He reminds people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites especially in the state's hot spots, which are Goshen and Fremont Counties. So far this year one person and 15 horses have tested positive for West Nile. Creekmore says using repellent with DEET is safe to use.
Laramie, Wy – The Bush administration announced a new plan today to open up national forests to more logging. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman made the announcement at the state Capitol with Governor Dirk Kempthorne and Idaho Senator Larry Craig. Under the plan, governors would have to petition the federal government to block road-building needed for logging in remote areas of national forests. It covers about 58 million of the 191 million acres of national forest nationwide. The rule replaces a previous one adopted by the Clinton Administration.
Cheyenne, Wy – Conservationist and philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller, who helped national parks in Wyoming, has died. He was 94. Rockefeller was number 377 on this year's Forbes magazine list of 587 billionaires, with 1-point-5 billion dollars. But he was perhaps best known for his work in the field of conservation and his affinity for the environment. In 1958 he founded the American Conservation Association to advance public knowledge of the field.
Cheyenne, Wy – July in Wyoming isn't just for baseball, hot dogs and rodeos. This year, it's also time for lawmaking. The Legislature this Monday opened a one-week special session to address the state's worsening shortage of doctors and their increasing malpractice insurance rates. Those rates are prompting many of them to leave the state, retire, or cut back their services. The Senate got the jump on the House when Senate President April Brimmer Kunz of Cheyenne gaveled in at 9:30.
Cheyenne, Wy – Wyoming lawmakers were told to let citizens have their say on whether to cap damages in medical malpractice cases and not to let lobbyists bother them. Governor Dave Freudenthal asked that two constitutional amendments go to voters, so they can have the say on the future of health care in the state. Freudenthal made his comments at the start of the special legislative session on health care reform. The Governor says lobbyists have been very aggressive on this issue, but he urged legislators to press forward and do something to help out the citizens.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Wyoming Senate approved a pair of constitutional amendments on initial reading in the first day of the special legislative session on health care reform. Senators approved a constitutional amendment that would cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The amendment passed, despite arguments by Democrats Mike Massie and Jayne Mockler that the cap will not impact rising malpractice rates. Senators rejected an attempt to allow victims to collect more then the amount capped if there was serious negligence.
Laramie, Wy – A week long attempt at attempting to solve Wyoming's high cost of medical malpractice insurance begins today. The headliner is a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. Legislators are being asked to give two-thirds support to the concept and put in on the ballot for citizens to decide the matter in November. But a bill that proposes other long range options, such as a risk retention group, will also be considered. Buffalo Representative Doug Osborn is hoping that legislation setting a cap on non-economic damages will pass.
Laramie, Wy – A consulting firm is coming to Wyoming to do a unique analysis of the delivery of healthcare in rural and frontier parts of the state. The company will take an inventory of resources and project needs in five, ten and twenty years. The director of the Wyoming Healthcare Commission, Diane Harrop, says she hopes it can be a tool for lawmakers at all levels of government. The study will cost 150 thousand dollars and should be done by October. Harrop says it may include some recommendations.