State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill is firing back at a legislative report released yesterday alleging she misused public funds and established a culture of fear and intimidation at Wyoming Department of Education.
Hill says the allegations in the report are untrue—and describes the report as a political attack.
"There’s no foundation," said Hill. "There are no facts. This is all hearsay—rewound, republished—for political end. The Governor is hoping to win an election. He’s desperate. And I just smile and say, ‘Really?’"
Outgoing Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says he is wrapping up his legislative career. The Gillette Republican is a fierce advocate for coal and the extractive industries.
Speaker Lubnau also has had some strong views recently about the University of Wyoming and got national attention over his reaction to the infamous Carbon Sink sculpture that was placed near old main. He speaks with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck
Members of Wyoming's Republican leadership raved about the legislative session that wrapped up Thursday, praising the state budget and lawmakers' support of business. The GOP leaders said the budget will do a lot for the state, but they noted that they were also able to put a lot into savings. Although the Senate Appropriations Committee was criticized for focusing too much on saving, Chairman Eli Bebout says in fact they probably spent too much. He says the energy industry could face tough times in Wyoming and it's important to be prepared.
A conference committee is trying to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of a bill that compensates people wrongly convicted of a crime. The House version of the bill says that someone exonerated of a crime via DNA, still has to return to court and prove their innocence in order to get compensation.
The Senate rejected that notion. Bill Sponsor Keith Gingery says he doesn't like the House version, but that the bill is important and he doesn't want to lose it.
The Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that will allow people to drive 80 miles per hour legally on certain sections of the state’s highways. Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau said the idea came to him from a constituent who noticed similar laws had been approved in Texas and in Utah.
“And I started looking at the statistics and found that the statistics show that the fatalities have either not increased or they decreased both in Utah or Texas," Lubnau says. "And it just allows people to go 80 miles an hour in those places where it’s safe to do that.”
The Wyoming House of Representatives has defeated an attempt to increase state, University, and Community College pay hikes from two percent to two and a half percent in each of the next two years.
Supporters say government employees have not had a raise in four years and many are leaving. But Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau finds that hard to believe. Lubanu says he has lost a number of employees to government employers.
Top Wyoming lawmakers have agreed to put off talks of budget cuts.
This year, state agencies cut an average of 6.5 percent from their budgets to meet a shortfall. Then lawmakers announced plans to require agencies to propose another round of 6-percent cuts during summer committee hearings.
But Governor Matt Mead said he would not encourage agencies to cooperate. He says with almost $800 million coming in from capital gains and interest on investments, cuts should be unnecessary.
With the start of the legislative session Tuesday, lawmakers have begun to lay out ideas for state income opportunities and budget priorities. With a slow-down in energy revenue predicted for the next decade, House Speaker, Thomas Lubnau, says Wyoming should look for new opportunities abroad.
“15% of Australia’s gross domestic product, about 1 in every 5 dollars of the Australian economy, is shipping coal to Asia. And there’s a huge opportunity for Wyoming to hop into that market if we can figure out a way to get ports either on the Gulf Coast or in Washington or Oregon.”
A Wyoming Republican legislator is optimistic following his return from a coal-energy conference in China. Governor Matt Mead and a delegation of state officials, specialists, and students, learned about what the governor’s office calls “greener” mining technologies, and new ways to use coal.
Gillette Representative Tom Lubnau says the conference was also an opportunity for Wyoming government officials to interface with their Chinese counterparts about the possibility of China importing Wyoming’s coal.
The Wyoming House of Representatives is considering legislation that would allow drivers to legally travel a little faster on interstate highways. Gillette Republican Tom Lubnau is pushing a bill that would allow state highway officials to increase the speed limit on interstates to 80 miles an hour and says this is currently allowed in some other states.
He cited a Utah study during floor debate on Friday.