The Legislature's Joint Education Committee is moving forward with an effort to study alternative ways to manage the Wyoming Department of Education and will seek input from education stakeholders and the public in that process.
A District Court Judge has asked for more information before he issues an order allowing State Superintendent Cindy Hill to resume her duties as head of the Wyoming Department of Education.
In January, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that a 2013 law that removed the elected superintendent as department head was unconstitutional. Laramie County District Court Judge Thomas Campbell ordered attorneys for the state and Hill to file written analyzes over the next three weeks on whether any parts of the law are constitutional. Senator Hank Coe of Cody says that’s good news.
The Wyoming Senate gave final approval to a bill that sets aside $5 million for school districts to place cameras on school buses to catch motorists who illegally pass stopped buses.
Several senators opposed the bill saying the focus should be on prevention. One idea was to add more lights to the buses, so that motorists can't ignore them, but Sheridan Senator Bruce Burns says that won't do much.
"This is happening 50,000 times a year in this state," Burns says. "I cannot believe that those people are not seeing those buses. I think they are ignoring that law. "
The Wyoming Senate has voted 26 to 4 to approve a bill that will help recruit a company to Cody and establish a loan program to recruit other large businesses.
Roughly $25 million in state loans will be used to help the Lannett Company expand a lab in Cody, but in an effort to avoid violating a constitutional provision against benefiting a single entity, the Senate broadened the bill with a series of amendments.
This concerned Lander Republican Cale Case, who opposed the bill.
The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would require each teacher and school administrator to undergo eight hours of suicide training every four years. Wyoming has one of the nation’s highest rates of suicide, and Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe says they want school officials to look for possible signs in an effort to prevent suicide.
“It is a serious problem," Coe said. "If we can go out with something like this and recognize a couple of…I mean just one…prevent one and its worthwhile.
In light of Wyoming’s high suicide rate, the state Legislature’s Joint Education Committee has voted to draft legislation that would implement the Jason Flatt Act in the cowboy state. It would require all school teachers to participate in a two-hour suicide prevention training every year to maintain their licenses.
Wyoming had the highest suicide rate in the country in 2012. Joint Education Committee co-chairman Senator Hank Coe says it’s an especially tough issue in his district. Six people in Park County have taken their own lives so far this year.
The State Senate has approved a bill that allows Wyoming to enter into a multi-state lottery. Senators amended to move money that would be generated from the lottery from cities and counties to a fund that benefits schools. Opponents of the lottery say it will hurt the poor. But Senator Hank Coe says there is a lot of support for the measure.
“The citizens of this state want this bill. I saw a poll in the last 12 months, 62 or 63% of the people in that poll support this lottery,” says Coe.
The Wyoming Senate has revived a school finance measure with onesignificant change:The bill removes the controversial regional cost adjustment known as the hedonic model that caused the measure to fail in the house.
That provision would remove funding from communities with amenities and could have cost Teton County four million dollars.