January 21st, 2010
A Listing of Today's Stories
Legislators say keep health reform in-state
Ever since the national health overhaul legislation passed some in Wyoming have been trying to do something about it. Recently Wyoming joined several other states in questioning the constitutionality of the law and the legislature is considering a resolution that would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that keeps people in Wyoming from being forced to buy insurance and abide by other provisions of the law. The idea is to have Wyoming address health care within the state boundaries.
Lobbyists at the legislature
A big part of getting new legislation passed in the legislature is advocacy for bills. Some of that advocacy comes from citizens, but a lot happens through lobbyists. Wyoming Public Radio's Tristan Ahtone spent an afternoon speaking with lobbyists to hear about their strategies at the start of this session.
Albany County group raises stalking awareness
The Albany County SAFE Project advocates on behalf of victims, including victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. It's one of 24 such programs statewide - and this month the SAFE Project is trying to draw attention to the problem of stalking. I asked Outreach Coordinator Brittany Parsons to begin by giving us some numbers.
Writer Rebecca Solnit's uncommon maps of Laramie
Rebecca Solnit, a visiting writer from San Francisco, has over a dozen books under her belt. She has written plenty about the city she loves as well as books on topics ranging from photography, landscape and walking. In titles like Wanderlust, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, and Savage Dreams, she weaves eclectic topics into meditative prose. She's currently working with students at the University of Wyoming to make an untraditional atlas of Laramie. The product will be a unique perspective of the city that, Solnit hopes, will make people see and explore their own home through new eyes. Wyoming Public Radio's Irina Zhorov reports.
Forest Supervisor weighs in on Bridget-Teton drilling plan
Texas company Plains Exploration and Production is proposing to drill in an area of the Wyoming Range called the Noble Basin. More than a million acres of the Wyoming Range were made off-limits to leasing when the Wyoming Range Legacy Act was signed into law in 2009. But the act left existing leases intact. PXP wants to put as many as 136 gas wells in the basin. A draft environmental impact statement issued by the Forest Service in December allows that drilling plan to go forward, with some modifications. In a series of well attended meetings this week, the public weighed in on the drilling proposal. I spoke to Bridger Teton National Forest Supervisor Jacque Buchanan just after the final meeting, Thursday night in Pinedale. She said turnout was high.
Legislature could create "right to hunt"
Next week the Wyoming legislature will be asked to take up a proposed constitutional amendment on the right to hunt. Such an amendment has been adopted by three other states and Wyoming sportsmen and sportswomen organizations are behind the effort. Walt Gasson is the Director of the Wyoming Wildlife federation. He says the constitutional amendment would be beneficial in this state.
In Pavillion, more study of water problem
East of the Fremont County town of Pavillion, many residents have been in a holding pattern since late summer. That's when federal officials recommended that people shouldn't drink or cook with water from 41 area wells. The officials cited a range of problems, from naturally occurring high sodium levels, to the presence of contaminants that shouldn't be found in drinking water. Area residents have long said that they believe their water problems are linked to local gas development. Now state agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency are broadening their effort to understand where that contamination is coming from. Wyoming Public Radio's Molly Messick has this update.
Wyoming Residents React to Controversial Legislative Proposals
Lawmakers are voting on hot-button issues in Cheyenne this legislative session. The legislature is debating issues ranging same-sex marriage to abortion. Wyoming Public Radio's Kelly Herbinson gauges public support and reaction.
Media Roundtable: The Wyoming Legislature
Two members of the Wyoming Media covering this year's session join Bob Beck in the studio for a round table discussion. Michelle Dynes is with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Jeremy Pelzer is with the Casper Star Tribune.