Governor Matt Mead said that Wyoming is strong and getting stronger. During his annual State of the State address before the legislature, Mead urged lawmakers to invest in Wyoming.
"This investment should include increased support for local government, funding to complete a unified network, increased funding for school and courtroom security, for the elderly and those with developmental disabilities and for upgrading state institutions and facilities. Pay raises for teachers,UW, and other state employees."
House Appropriations Chairman Steve Harshman said that he shares "90 percent of the governor's priorities."
Mead said lawmakers can make these investments and still maintain a relatively flat budget. Mead also urged legislators to join him in developing a state water strategy. The Governor told the legislature that other states are looking at Wyoming's water and that the state needs to be proactive. But he admitted it will be a challenge.
“They are expensive, they take time, and permitting is difficult. But if we wait till tomorrow, it’s not going to get any easier. It will be a great, great, legacy of this legislature to be able to say we did all we can to protect Wyoming water.”
He told lawmakers that he is still opposed to using federal dollars to expand Medicaid services to the state. Something that disappointed Senate Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss.
“I think that is probably the key issue in terms of the one that affects the most people, that decision really does change the lives of 17,600 people and we need to bring something. We’ve gotta have something come out of this session.”
Rothfuss is among those who plan to bring an expansion plan forward that lawmakers could consider.