politics

Anna Rader

As part of our series, “I Respectfully Disagree,” Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards journeyed into the heart of Wyoming’s coal country to the city of Gillette up in the northeast corner. Recently, it’s become an intensely divided community. In the last election, Wyoming went in greater percentage to Donald Trump than any other state, but Campbell County supported Trump more than any other county in Wyoming.

A greater sage-grouse male struts for a female at a lek (dancing or mating ground) near Bridgeport, CA
Jeannie Stafford / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new report says decisions on endangered species are undercut by politics. That’s according to the Endangered Species Coalition based in Washington D.C. The report concentrates on ten fish, plant and wildlife conservation decisions where they say science was ignored or suppressed.

 

State of Wyoming

A former Cheyenne woman claims that Secretary of State Ed Murray sexually assaulted her in 1982 when they worked together at the law firm of Dray, Madison and Thomson in Cheyenne.

Former Democratic U.S. House Candidate Gary Trauner has announced that he will run for Wyoming’s U.S. Senate seat. The seat is currently held by John Barrasso who is up for re-election. Trauner who calls himself an organizational and financial entrepreneur most recently served as the Chief Operating Office of St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Jackson. He said he’s running because government is no longer working.

 

Senator Mike Enzi (R)

Wyoming’s Senior Senator, Mike Enzi, is getting a seat at the head table in the GOP’s rush to get a tax reform bill passed in the coming weeks.

As chair of the Senate Budget Committee Enzi has played a key role in getting the Republican tax reform proposal as far along as it currently is, but now comes the really hard part: melding the Senate bill with the House bill. Enzi is on the conference committee tasked with wedding the two divergent bills. He says he’s not just hearing input from all corners of Capitol.

Bob Beck

This week the legislature’s Revenue Committee pushed off a number of tax measures until the end of January.

The committee has been trying to find revenue to offset losses in revenue that led to massive budget cuts, including a renewed effort to reduce education funding. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard speaks with News Director Bob Beck about this. 

Dave Heath

The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities is launching a five-year strategic plan to advocate for better policies for the disabled in Wyoming. Andy Imparato is a lawyer and the executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

cityofcody-wy.gov

The Wyoming state legislature passed a law in March allowing school districts to choose whether their employees can carry firearms. Legislatures said the law would help many rural schools in Wyoming that are far away from law enforcement to react to an armed intruder. So far, a couple of school districts have begun to debate the possibility of introducing such a policy.

Park County School District #6 in Cody is the first school board actually working on drafting a policy that will be introduced to the public on January 8.

Tom Koerner, USFWS Mountain-Plains

 

Last winter, protestors packed committee meetings after lawmakers proposed a constitutional amendment to allow the state of Wyoming to take over management of federal lands. Republican Senator Larry Hicks supported the idea, but he was open to other options. So, he reached out to Shane Cross and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and challenged them to come with a compromise.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

In early November, protests broke out at the University of Wyoming over an invitation to conservative radio host Dennis Prager to speak on campus. On Wednesday, December 6, the UW debate team will face members of the conservative student group, Turning Point USA, that invited Prager to discuss the decision.

Renewable energy organizations who signed a letter opposing certain provisions in the Congressional tax reform bills
ACORE, AWEA, CRES, SEIA

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have both passed a tax reform bill, and both bills have the renewable energy industry nervous. That includes four organizations 

Amy Sisk/Inside Energy

Wyoming’s Republicans in Washington are hoping to pass broad energy policy in this congressional session after inter-party squabbling in the GOP derailed the effort last year.

In the last Congress, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan energy bill that included Wyoming Senator John Barrasso’s push to expedite the export of Liquefied Natural Gas. That bill garnered support from 85 out of 100 senators but was never sent to the desk of former President Obama. Barrasso was upset that the bill died after negotiations with House Republicans fell apart.

House Committee on Natural Resources

It’s been a busy week for energy in Washington D.C. While you may only be hearing about the tax debate in Congress, new bills are moving forward that relate to energy development out west. Dylan Brown, a reporter for E & E news covering coal and mining, gives background on what’s being discussed and what it means.  

 

Stephanie Joyce

Every four years the federal government is required to release a report on the world’s changing climate and this year's was the most comprehensive report since Congress mandated it. It states there’s “no convincing alternative explanation” to climate change other than that humans are the cause. The report is the work of more than a dozen federal agencies, but Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the political appointees in the Trump administration have buried their heads in tar sands.

Photo by Magnus Fröderberg via Attribution 2.5 Denmark (CC BY 2.5 DK)

Anders Fogh Rasmussen is the former Prime Minister of Denmark and the former Secretary General of NATO. Rasmussen made his first trip to Wyoming this week discussing the topic of America’s will to lead, or perhaps not lead, when it comes to world affairs.

Rasmussen thinks it’s essential to return to being the world’s leader. Bob Beck asked him what he thought about the Trump administration’s approach. 

  

Photo by Erik (HASH) Hersman via CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

State and county officials have formed a task force to address Wyoming’s aging election equipment. Teton County Clerk Sherry Daigle said it’s now ten years old and the technology has gotten behind the times.

“Technology is outdated the day you put it into effect because it moves so fast,” she said. “And a lot of the equipment we have is, you know, they’re computer scanners and readers. So we wanted to make sure we’re not behind the eight ball.”

United States Capitol in daylight
Kevin McCoy

The U.S. House and Senate disagree over whether to slash subsidies for the wind industry.

In 2015, Congress agreed to five more years of a tax credits for wind production. If a company could make headway or finish development of a new project by 2020, they would receive a tax break called a production tax credit, or PTC. It’s helped launch investment in new projects around the country, including Wyoming. The surge in development is expected to add 38 new megawatts of wind energy by 2020 in the states, according to a Bloomberg-related research group.

Bob Beck

The EPA’s announcement that it’s rolling back an Obama-era rule to expand regulations on the nation’s waters and streams is being cheered by Wyoming lawmakers who now are offering input on how to rewrite it.

Farmers and ranchers across Wyoming were up in arms over the regulation commonly referred to as the Waters of the U.S. rule. It would have expanded the scope of what the EPA and other federal agencies regulate, which had many fearing the government would be monitoring dry stream beds and puddles. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso praised the move.

CSPAN

Wyoming’s lawmakers in the nation’s capital are trying to help their party deliver on its promise to overhaul the nation’s tax code.

Wyoming’s senior Senator Mike Enzi took the lead last week as he helped his party take its first steps to tax reform by passing a budget blueprint that allows the GOP to overhaul the tax code without any Democratic support. As chair of the Budget Committee Enzi led the fight to pass the budget on the Senate floor.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, has changed one of their major protocols when it comes to making arrests—they will now consider arresting anyone they encounter who is undocumented, even if they have no criminal history or prior deportations.

University of Wyoming

For more than 30 years, Stephen Walt has watched American and world politics. He is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor in International Affairs in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a foreign policy expert.

He visited the University of Wyoming as part of the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars Program, and joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to discuss the how the current political climate is different from the Cold War.

 

facebook.com/pg/replizcheney/

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney is a part of a controversial new GOP push to loosen the nation’s gun regulations. Cheney and other Republicans say it’s an effort to restore second amendment rights.

It’s called the “Sportsmen Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act,” or SHARE Act. Not only does the bill deal with guns, Cheney added a provision that prevents the courts from revisiting the delisting of grey wolves from Endangered Species protection.

Wyoming’s lawmakers just returned to Washington after a summer break that President Trump urged the Senate to cut short to take up more of his agenda. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on what Wyoming lawmakers think they can accomplish this fall.

University of Wyoming School of Law

On Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, would be phased out.

Suzie Pritchett is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Family and Immigrant Justice Clinic at the University of Wyoming College of Law. She spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen about how DACA came to be, its relevance to Wyoming, and what is now at stake for its recipients.

This story is the first in a series on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Listen to the other stories below:

Tennessee Watson

Farmworker families often have to move from state to state to find work, and that makes school challenging for their kids. For over 40 years the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) ran a program to support this vulnerable student population, but that has come to an end.

Wyoming’s sugar beet harvest once was a big draw for migrant workers. On a tour of the farmland surrounding Torrington, Simon Lozano remembered a time when the fields were bustling.

“It was like 90 percent beets,” he said pointing out of the window of his truck.  

Brian Harrington / Mary For Wyoming

Former State Representative Mary Throne announced Saturday she is running for governor of Wyoming.

A Cheyenne Democrat, Throne served in the Wyoming House for ten years, and as the House Minority Floor Leader for three of those. She was narrowly defeated by Republican newcomer Jared Olsen in the 2016 election after a contentious race.

Throne said that election was a humbling experience.

Wyoming Legislature

Early this summer lawmakers were looking at a massive shortfall in education funding and overall revenue. That pushed lawmakers into a lengthy discussion about possible tax hikes. The idea was to hold a number of hearings over the summer on a variety of proposals and then pass bills that would raise $100 million, $200 million and $300 million. But a funny thing happened on the way to passing tax legislation the state’s revenue picture improved.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

West Virginia wants to use federal dollars to subsidize Appalachian coal. Some think that’s picking favorites — not just over natural gas and renewables, but over other coal states. 

(NPS Photo/ Tim Rains)

The Endangered Species Act has been the law of the land for more than 40 years. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, the act was intended to highlight the “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.” But Wyoming Senator John Barrasso says it needs updating.

“The Endangered Species Act was written, created and adopted for all the right reasons and there’s just too much sand in the gears right now.”

Barrasso says the Act creates too many hoops and hurdles.

Bob Beck

As the Senate health insurance reform effort remains on life support, Wyoming’s two senators are pushing their Republican colleagues to get on board with the effort.

Senator John Barrasso literally burned the midnight oil on Wednesday when he invited a large group of Republican senators into his office for last minute negotiations on their party’s health insurance reform plan. Barrasso emerged late and was the last to address the thirty or so reporters who huddled outside for hours.  

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