State Lawmakers Question Payout for Retiree Health Insurance

Cheyenne, WY – The chairmen of the state House and Senate
appropriations committees have asked the Wyoming Attorney General's Office for a formal opinion whether a 3-point-3 (m) million dollar appropriation to help more than 17-hundred retired state employees
pay for health insurance violates the state constitution. Senator Phil Nicholas is a Republican from Laramie and Representative Frank Philp is a Republican from Shoshoni. The two lawmakers wrote to Attorney General Pat Crank last Friday asking whether the appropriation would violate a constitutional provision against paying employees extra compensation after services are rendered. They also questioned whether the payments would violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection on the grounds that not all state retirees would be eligible for them. Crank says his office will look into the matter and find an answer. Governor Dave Freudenthal signed the appropriations bill late last month. He says legislative acts are presumed to be constitutional. The governor also says that helping the retirees would benefit current state workers by encouraging them to find the state to be a good employer.