The Associated Press

The Wyoming Republican Party Central Committee has approved a resolution endorsing the drive to repeal the state law that took power away from the state superintendent of public instruction.

The Central Committee approved the resolution on a 40-32 vote over the weekend in Buffalo.

The action is a slap at the Republican controlled state Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead who approved the law during this past legislative session.

A legal settlement between ranchers and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would reduce wild horse numbers in southwest Wyoming by half or more.

Three people accused of defrauding investors of more than $4 million by falsely claiming to be developing wind farms in Wyoming and South Dakota are set to stand trial in June.


U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper has scheduled a three-week trial starting June 3.
 

Defendants Robert Arthur Reed and Lauren Elizabeth Scott of Utah and Gregory Lee Doss of California are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money. Reed faces additional charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
 

Wyoming is getting more money from the federal government to improve its lowest-achieving schools.
 
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that Wyoming will get $1.1 million in 2013. It's the third year the state has gotten a grant from the department's School Improvement Grant Program.

Nine other states, including Colorado, are also getting money.
 
The department says states will distribute the money to school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for it and show a strong commitment to using it to improve student performance.

An interim legislative committee is planning to study Wyoming's beer and liquor tax this summer.

Wyoming's 2-cents-per-gallon tax on malt beverages is the lowest in the nation. It has remained unchanged since it was first passed in 1935, about a year after Prohibition was repealed.

The study is among several tax studies assigned to the Joint Interim Revenue Committee this summer and fall.

The oil and gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by developing nontoxic fluids for hydraulic fracturing.
 
But it's not clear whether the fluids will be widely embraced by drilling companies.
 

Fracking has made it possible to tap into energy reserves across the nation but also has raised concerns about pollution, since large volumes of water along with sand and hazardous chemicals are injected underground to free the oil and gas from rock.
 

The Wyoming Legislature will take on just about every possible hot-button social issue this week, hearing bills on guns, abortion and same-sex marriage.

House Speaker Tom Lubnau, a Republican from Gillette, says he's scheduled all the contentious social issue bills for hearings this week to save money on security.

Lubnau says the Legislature always increases its security when lawmakers consider gun and abortion issues because of the large crowds that typically turn out.

The legislative panel responsible for drafting a supplemental Wyoming state budget bill recommends that lawmakers reject Gov. Matt Mead's proposal to cut the flow of energy revenues going into permanent savings and school construction.

Mead wants Wyoming to build up its so-called rainy day fund in case the state needs ready cash to deal with projected flat energy revenues in the years to come.

A state lawmaker from Jackson is proposing some changes to Wyoming's tipping laws.

One bill introduced by Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff would make all tips exempt from sales tax. Currently tips automatically added to a bill, usually for large groups, are subject to sales tax.

Another bill from the Republican would allow restaurants to pool tips from everyone waiting on tables and then split the money among its employees. However, an employee couldn't be forced to contribute more than 15 percent of their tips to a tip pool.

A Wyoming legislative committee is set to hear a proposal to raise fuel taxes.

The House Revenue Committee is meeting this morning in Cheyenne to consider a bill that would hike fuel taxes by a dime. The tax would increase from 14 cents to 24 cents a gallon on gasoline.

Gov. Matt Mead is pushing the tax increase. He says it would raise more than $70 million a year for state and local road projects.

The governor says increasing gasoline taxes would allow out-of-state motorists to foot much of the bill for maintaining the state's highway system.

Gov. Matt Mead is set to deliver his annual State of the State address to lawmakers in Cheyenne on this morning.

Mead is presiding over Wyoming at a time of transition. State financial analysts warn state energy revenues are likely to stay flat for years to come.

Mead is proposing 6.5-percent budget cuts for state agencies, not counting one-time project funding. The cuts amount to more than $60 million over the coming year.

Wyoming Legislature set to convene today

Jan 8, 2013

The Wyoming Legislature is set to convene at noon today for the first day of its general session, which is set to run through early March.
 
Lawmakers generally take care of housekeeping matters on the first day and won't get down to business until after Gov. Matt Mead delivers his annual state of the state address tomorrow morning.
 

Preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicate Wyoming mines produced about 9 percent less coal in 2012 than in 2011.

Mines in the state produced an estimated 398 million tons in 2012, compared to 436 million tons in 2011. Nationwide, coal production dropped about 7 percent.

Industry officials say the decrease in production is due to sagging natural gas prices, a mild winter and stricter regulations on coal-burning power plants.

Groups file third lawsuit over Wyoming wolves

Dec 7, 2012

Environmental groups have filed a third federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's move to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming.
 
The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals filed suit today/yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
 
The groups say Wyoming's management plan classifying wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in most of the state is inadequate. They want the court to reinstate federal protections.
 

A judge in Cheyenne heard arguments today over whether to dismiss the lawsuit about the Y Cross Ranch. The suit was filed by a Amy Davis, who gave a ranch to two university foundations and now accuses them of not honoring the intent of her gift.
 

Several media outlets have filed a lawsuit challenging the secret search for a new president of the University of Wyoming.
 
The Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming Tribune Eagle and The Associated Press filed the lawsuit Monday in state District Court in Laramie.
 
The UW Board of Trustees has decided to not to release the names of any of the candidates it is considering to replace President Tom Buchanan, who is retiring next year.
 

Hunters now have killed at least 33 wolves in northwest Wyoming since the start of the state's first wolf hunt six weeks ago.
 
As of today, three hunt areas are closed to further wolf hunting after hunters reached their local kill limits. Nine other hunt areas remained open.
 
The statewide limit for this year's hunt is 52 wolves. The trophy hunting season ends Dec. 31. That means licensed hunters have until the end of the year to kill 19 more wolves.
 

A judge has set bail at $2 million cash for a Montana man suspected of abducting and assaulting an 11-year-old Wyoming girl.
 
Thirty-nine-year-old Jesse Paul Speer made his initial court appearance today/Friday before Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters in Cody. His preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 26.
 
Prosecutors allege Speer forced a Cody girl into his SUV at gunpoint on Oct. 8, then assaulted and abandoned her outside of town. Hunters eventually found the girl.
 
He was arrested Saturday in Montana.
 

The state's treasurer and its longest serving attorney general has died. Joseph "Joe" Meyer was 71.
 
     Meyer's family said in a statement that he died Saturday. No cause of death was released, but Meyer was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009. He had brain surgery in January to remove cancer deposits.
 
     His death comes just days after the University of Wyoming announced he would receive a distinguished alumni award at homecoming next week. Meyer graduated from the school with a bachelor's degree in 1964 and a law degree in 1967.
 

Wyoming environmental regulators say carbon dioxide bubbling up from the ground may have killed six ducks and polluted a stream.
 
The leak happened in an area where CO2 is injected underground to help revive an old oil field and boost oil production.
 
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has ordered Anadarko Petroleum to identify and control the carbon dioxide leak into Castle Creek in central Wyoming. DEQ also is telling Anadarko to monitor the stream's acidity until three consecutive tests show normal pH.
 

A federal judge must decide a dispute between two Wyoming Indian tribes ... over whether eagles may be killed on the Wind River Reservation for religious purposes.

Judge Alan Johnson of Cheyenne heard arguments Friday in a lawsuit the Northern Arapaho Tribe is pressing against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The federal agency issued a permit to the Northern Arapaho this spring specifying the tribe could kill two bald eagles for its annual Sun Dance. It was the nation's first bald eagle permit for religious purposes.

Top Wyoming officials say congressional action to block about $700 million in federal Abandoned Mine Land payments to the state over the next 10 years threatens to be devastating to the state budget.
 
Gov. Matt Mead and Sen. Phil Nicholas, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Wyoming Legislature, say the loss will leave the state hard-pressed to continue to pay for coal research and other programs it has covered with the AML dollars.

Firefighters are making progress against a 400-acre wildfire threating 13 homes in western Wyoming.
 
The fire was 20 percent contained Wednesday. It ignited Sunday 30 miles west of Pinedale and has prompted some evacuation orders.
 
No buildings have been reported lost. The cause remains under investigation.

A state lawmaker wants the option to remove a small herd of bighorn sheep from U.S. Forest Service lands in southeastern Wyoming if necessary to protect local sheep ranchers.

Willow Belden

Final testing is being done on a supercomputer in Cheyenne that will be used for climate modeling and other Earth sciences.
 
The new computer, called Yellowstone, is among the top dozen or so fastest supercomputers in the world right now.
 
An opening ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 15.
 
The National Center for Atmospheric Research is lining up research projects that will get time on its machine starting this fall.
 

The federal government might not be able to buy a tract of land within Grand Teton National Park, as it had planned to do.
 
An Interior Department spokesman says the agency may not be able to allocate funding to buy the land from Wyoming.
 
Wyoming has owned the roughly two square miles of land since statehood. The parcels are surrounded by park land but aren't formally part of Grand Teton.
 
Two years ago, Wyoming's governor threatened to sell the land at auction. The threat prodded Interior officials to agree to buy the land for $107 million.

A coalition of environmental groups has filed notice that they intend to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency's decision to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming.
 
WildEarth Guardians and other groups announced Monday that they have filed a notice of intent to sue the federal agency.
 
The groups are concerned that the state of Wyoming has classified wolves in most of the state as unprotected predators that could be shot on sight. The state has scheduled a trophy wolf hunt in the area around Yellowstone National Park starting Oct. 1.

Associated Press

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A wildfire on Casper Mountain that's forced the evacuation of about 400 people has spread to between 5,000 and 6,000 acres. The Sheep Herder Hill Fire started Sunday afternoon and quickly spread as it jumped from tree to tree on the mountain that overlooks the city. About 150 structures and homes on the mountain's east side remained evacuated Monday, including the Crimson Dawn Museum. Natrona County Emergency Management Director Stew Anderson told KTWO-AM that he believes it's safe. So far he said firefighters have been mainly on the defensive.

Gov. Matt Mead says Wyoming will not seek to waive federal welfare work requirements.
 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is allowing states the option to waive certain work requirements for people on welfare.
 
The requirements are part of a 1996 welfare reform law aimed at getting welfare recipients into the workforce.
 
The issue has come up in this year's presidential campaign between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
 

The largest wildfire in Wyoming this season has been declared contained.
 
The Arapaho Fire in the Laramie Peak area of the Medicine Bow National Forest was declared 100 percent contained on Thursday.
 
The fire has burned about 153 square miles since lightning started it on June 27.  At its peak, the fire had around 1,000 firefighters assigned to it.
 
The U.S. Forest Service cautions that there is extensive fire damage and people should use caution within the burned area.
 

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