wyoming legislature

News
2:59 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Senate file would allow Northern Arapaho Tribe to hunt eagles

The State Senate gave second approval to a bill that would allow the Northern Arapaho Tribe to kill golden eagles for tribal ceremonies as long as it is done in compliance with federal law.  

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News
2:32 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Senate amends bill to protect land surface owners from mineral exploration companies

The Wyoming Senate continued work on a bill that would require companies doing seismic exploration for minerals to post bonds or negotiate a contract with the surface owners.

Proponents say seismic operators sometimes trespass on private property.

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Superintendent
4:45 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

House votes to remove duties from State Superintendent

Members of the gallery watch the superintendent debate.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

After two weeks of discussion, the Wyoming Legislature has voted to remove some duties from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The legislation awaits the signature of Governor Matt Mead. 

The bill would hand over administration of the State Department of Education to a Governor appointed Director of Education. 

Opponents of the bill once again complained that they were going against voters who supported the election of Superintendent Cindy Hill by a two-to-one margin. 

Rock Springs Republican Stephen Watt again asked the House to slow down.

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News
3:43 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Food Freedom Act passes

Credit Irina Zhorov

The Wyoming House of Representatives has passed a bill that would de-regulate the sale of homemade foods at farmers markets and between producers and consumers.  Republican Sue Wallis of Recluse says it would allow the sale of meat and unpasteurized, raw milk.  Lawmakers considered removing meat from the bill, but the amendment was defeated.  Wallis says if consumers buy locally, that money will get spread throughout communities.    

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News
6:13 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

WY Senate approves Medicaid fraud bill

The State Senate has unanimously passed a bill that would allow the State of Wyoming to investigate those suspected of Medicaid fraud.  Currently, the state can only launch such an investigation with federal approval.  Senator Ray Peterson of Cowley says that the state believes it could recover millions in fraud if the legislation is approved. 

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News
5:56 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

WY House gives initial approval to bill that would remove power from Superintendent Hill

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that would remove key powers from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and give them to an appointed Education Director. 

The House debated the bill for almost two hours. Many representatives expressed concern that the legislature was taking power away from the voters and others were concerned about how quickly the legislature is moving to pass the bill. Lyman Republican Allen Jaggi says he’s heard from constituents who share those concerns.

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News
12:04 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Medicaid expansion in WY gets a 'do not pass' recommendation from Sen. Health & Labor Committee

The Senate Health and Labor Committee has voted down a measure that would expand Medicaid services in the state.  The program would allow more low income people to qualify for health insurance coverage. 

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News
12:04 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Medicaid expansion in WY gets a 'do not pass' recommendation from Sen. Health & Labor Committee

The Senate Health and Labor Committee has voted down a measure that would expand Medicaid services in the state.  The program would allow more low income people to qualify for health insurance coverage. 

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News
8:11 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Bill creating an appointed Education Director position clears one more hurdle

The House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to endorse a bill that would remove duties from the State Superintendent and transfer them to an appointed Director. Lawmakers say that Superintendent Hill has not met deadlines and has delayed execution of duties such as creating education accountability programs. 

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News
5:32 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

WY Senate to continue debate over energy & natural resource curriculum

The State Senate has given initial approval to a plan to develop an energy and natural resource curriculum for Wyoming schools.  The program will be based on a current agriculture curriculum that helps students learn more about that industry.   Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson, a retired school teacher, says the curriculum will help students learn more about the biggest industry in the state.  But some Senators are uncomfortable with the state dictating an industry curriculum for schools.  Anderson pointed out that districts only have to adopt the program if they want to.

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News
3:43 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

WY Senate approves bill that could reduce number of full time magistrates

The State Senate has approved a bill that gives the Wyoming Supreme Court the authority to reduce the number of full time Circuit Court magistrates. A magistrate is appointed by a Judge to oversee court duties when the Judge is not present.  In rural areas a magistrate handles minor judicial duties.

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News
12:48 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

WY Senate to consider new math requirements for schools

An effort to require all students to take four years of math will be considered by the State Senate.  The Senate Education Committee recommended passage of the measure sponsored by Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss. He says too many students who go on to attend college either struggle or have to take remedial classes.  The bill will require students to pass four years of math-based classes in order to graduate.

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News
12:44 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Sen. Health and Labor Committee approves Medicaid reform

After several days of discussion, the Senate Health and Labor Committee approved a bill that is intended to reform Medicaid in Wyoming.  Medicaid is an expensive program for the state to run and lawmakers have been looking at how to reduce costs, but not take away services.  One significant change would be how the state handles those with developmental disabilities and brain injuries.  The state spends $120 million a year on those services. Cheyenne Senator Leslie Nutting says they would reduce costs without eliminating services by trying to focus coverage on services that people actually n

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News
6:43 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

WY Senate debates bill to help state's ailing Juvenile Justice System

For years, Wyoming’s Juvenile Justice system has received low grades from national groups.  Part of the problem is that the state locks up many juvenile offenders, but local groups say that prevention and intervention services aren’t available in all communities in the state.  A bill being debated in the state senate is intended to change that. 

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News
6:24 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

WY House of Reps. considers bill to raise retirement age for Supreme Court Justices

Another effort to change Wyoming’s mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court Justices and State Court Judges has gained initial support from the state House of Representatives.  The current retirement age is 70 and a number of groups have called for that mandatory age to be raised because they say that too many good judges are being forced into retirement.  The most recent was Supreme Court Justice Michael Golden.  But in the past, the House and Senate could not reach a consensus on what the retirement age should be.  Sponsor, Cheyenne Republican Dan Zwonitzer, says he is taking a differen

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News
6:14 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Senate gives initial approval for nuclear waste storage facility bill

A bill that would allow for the building of a nuclear waste storage facility in Wyoming received an initial go ahead in the State Senate, despite concerns that it isn’t needed yet.  The bill would get the process of permitting a storage facility started, so that if a nuclear power plant was considered for Wyoming, the storage facility would already be permitted.  But some think that the Senate is getting ahead of itself.  Sheridan Republican Bruce Burns worried that this could open the doors for something the state doesn’t want.

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News
8:08 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Jackson lawmaker proposes tipping law changes

A state lawmaker from Jackson is proposing some changes to Wyoming's tipping laws.

One bill introduced by Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff would make all tips exempt from sales tax. Currently tips automatically added to a bill, usually for large groups, are subject to sales tax.

Another bill from the Republican would allow restaurants to pool tips from everyone waiting on tables and then split the money among its employees. However, an employee couldn't be forced to contribute more than 15 percent of their tips to a tip pool.

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Legislative
5:53 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Senator Ross urges cooperation


The Wyoming Senate President is urging cooperation after what he calls an ugly campaign season. 


Tony Ross of Cheyenne urged the Senate to work together and not let the public get cynical.  Ross says that’s important because this will be a difficult session with lots of important issues to address.


“Supplemental budget cuts, our response to the affordable care act, expansion of Medicaid, education accountability and a fuel tax just to name a few.  Many people are looking to the Senate to be THE body of reason and measure.”

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Legislative
5:28 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Lawmakers get ready to debate loss of federal money vs. Medicaid expansion

In early 2013 the state legislature will discuss cutting the state budget.  While some say only minimal cuts are needed, others are not so sure.  State Senator Tony Ross says the so-called fiscal cliff could add to the loss of federal money the state is already dealing with, starting with the loss of abandoned mine land money last fall.

“As a result of the loss of AML funds or there is even talks that there may be a push to cut back on federal mineral royalties.  If they do something like that it effects us here in a very big way.” 

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Legislative Headlines
4:26 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Republican Legislative Leadership Chosen

Republicans in the State Senate have elected Cheyenne’s Tony Ross to serve as Senate President and Laramie’s Phil Nicholas to serve as majority floor leader.   

The House previously announced its makeup, choosing Tom Lubnau to be speaker and Kermit Brown to be majority floor leader.  Steve Harshman  of Casper will become the new chair of the House Appropriations Committee.  The Senate also added some new committee chairman, the most notable being Riverton’s Eli Bebout who was chosen to serve as its Appropriations Committee Chairman.  

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Elections
12:38 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Democrats lose two legislative seats

Republicans have increased their clout in the Wyoming Legislature as a result of yesterday’s election. The GOP gained two House seats in Rock Springs and another in western Wyoming, though Democrats gained a seat in Cheyenne.

One of the Democrats’ key losses was Rep. Joe Barbuto, an incumbent from Rock Springs. He lost to Republican Mark Baker.

Several other Democratic incumbents had fierce competition as well. Rep. Mary Throne, Sen. Floyd Esquibel, and Rep. Patrick Goggles each won re-election by only a narrow margin.

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News
4:25 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

UW wants money for a pay hike

Noting that it’s been more than three years since employees last saw a pay hike, the University of Wyoming board of trustees has approved a supplemental budget request to resolve that situation.  

Trustees unanimously approved a request of more than five million dollars to allow U-W to provide merit-based pay hikes that would average around three-percent.     

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Elections
12:07 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Most incumbents survived challenges in Wyo Legislative races

A push by the conservative arm of the Republican party mostly fizzled in last night’s primary election.  Most incumbents won their elections and will advance to the general election. 

Senator Charles Scott of Casper survived the race with perhaps the highest profile in defeating veteran Representative Bob Brechtel.  Scott says his ability to hash out differences with constituents during the campaign helped, along with the fact that voters were familiar with him.  He says the contest told him that there is no need to change his approach.               

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Elections
5:18 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

3 Republicans battle in the Senate District 28 primary in Casper

Three Wyoming Republicans are facing off in next week’s primary election to become the G-O-P nominee for Senate District 28 in Casper. 

Senator Kit Jennings is the incumbent and he is being challenged by Physician Tom Radosevich and retired businessman Jim Anderson.  Anderson favors local control in most instances, including economic development.  He wants the state to focus on helping what he calls Wyoming’s core industries.

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News
2:11 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Luca Technologies project comes to a halt

Federal land managers have rejected an application by a Colorado company to use bacteria to produce
methane from northeast Wyoming coal beds.  

The Gillette News-Record reported Thursday the Bureau of Land Management threatened to prosecute Luca Technologies Inc. for trespassing if it continued the work. The company says it will comply but disagrees with the decision and may sue.

The BLM acted after Luca refused to pay an additional $40,000 for the cost of processing the application, on top of $40,000 it paid previously.

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Open Spaces
4:37 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Legislature cuts funding for Healthy Frontiers

Wyoming House of Representatives
Irina Zhorov

Listen to the story

Five years ago the state embarked on an innovative preventive medicine approach called Healthy Frontiers.  It offered a version of health insurance to low income people who cannot afford it.  The idea was to try and keep people off of Medicaid and out of the emergency room.  But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports the legislature stripped money from the program essentially killing it.

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Open Spaces
5:45 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Wyoming legislators to study ways to reduce the increasing costs of Medicaid

Listen to the story

A major concern in the state budget is the growing cost of Medicaid.  Medicaid is  matching federal and state funded health coverage for lower income people, children, those with disabilities and elderly nursing home residents.  State officials say that Medicaid costs take up a large chunk of the state budget and recently have been growing between 30 and 40 percent a year.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that has pushed legislators to undertake a major study to find ways to reduce costs.

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News
5:46 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

Senators continue debate on Open Records Bill

A majority of Senators have voted to keep a provision in an Open Records bill that would allow communication between one elected official and one private citizen from being made public. But Senator Bill Landen argued that such communication should be made public, because it could provide insight into why board members voted a particular way.  Landen argued that the bill allows for mischief.

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News
5:34 pm
Tue February 21, 2012

The Wyoming Legislature begins budget work

    The Wyoming House and Senate have begun discussing the 3-point-2 billion dollar state budget.  It will cover a biennium, or the next two fiscal years.  House Appropriations Chairman Rosie Berger says they are trying to pass a flat budget this year and limit future spending.  Senate Appropriations Chairman Phil Nicholas says agencies will be asked to reduce their budgets by four percent in the second year of the biennium and another four percent in the following year.

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News
5:42 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

State Senate looks at increasing salaries for the judiciary

Salaries for judges could go up substantially under a bill being debated by the state Senate. 

Senator Phil Nicholas says judicial salaries have lagged behind those in state government and higher education… and is proposing a nearly 34-thousand dollar increase for those on the Supreme Court, a 25 thousand dollar increase for District Court Judges, and Circuit court judges would see a pay hike of roughly 7-thousand dollars. 

However,Senator Charles Scott of Casper fears such increases could take away much needed dollars from important programs like Medicaid.

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