Politics

University of Wyoming

If your name is John, you’re more likely to run a large company or be a politician than if you’re a woman with any name. That’s according to the latest "Glass Ceiling Index" by the New York Times. So does this under-representation hold true in our region’s so-called "Equality State"?

Asha Rangappa

The news surrounding the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election can at times seem overwhelming. To help break it all down, Asha Rangappa has been visiting Wyoming this week, giving talks in Jackson and Laramie about the investigation, social media, and democracy. 

Foster Friess twitter

Republican and Jackson resident Foster Friess is running for Wyoming governor. The announcement was made Friday at the Wyoming Republican Party Convention in Laramie.

U.S. Conference of Mayors

A new question on the 2020 census about citizenship is heading to court.  The U.S. Conference of Mayors is filing a suit contesting its inclusion. But not everyone in the region is on board.  

Sam Galeotos Campaign

Travel industry businessman Sam Galeotos, a Republican, grew up in Cheyenne and went on to serve as an executive of an airline company and eventually ran other travel-related companies including CheapTickets.com and Worldspan. 

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has now signed into law several bills dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault. Advocates at the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence And Sexual Assault are mostly pleased with lawmakers’ efforts.

The Wyoming Legislature wrapped up its work after waiting a few days to finish some outstanding issues. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck discussed the session's end with Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard.

Wyoming Legislature Senator Eli Bebout
Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature still has work to do. Despite working for 20 days the House and Senate will reconvene later this week to hopefully reach a compromise on one bill that funds building projects and another that trims school funding. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A bill that would allow educators and students to be trained about child sexual abuse squeaked through the Wyoming Legislature Saturday.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Leland Christensen
Wyoming Legislature

A bill that would allow the prosecution of those who damage critical infrastructure or try to prevent its use, is on its way to the governor. Saturday, the Senate voted to accept House changes to the bill that clarified that protesting is okay as long as access to the infrastructure is not blocked.

Wyoming Legislature logo
Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming Legislative session is coming to an end and Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to discuss the lawmakers' progress.

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2018/billreference/BillReference.aspx?type=ALL

Despite strong concern over the appropriateness of spending state money to partner with an airline, the Wyoming House of Representatives approved a bill that is intended to stabilize air service in the state. The plan is to set aside $15 million to partner with an air carrier for 10 years. Supporters say it should reduce current costs that the state pays airlines and should improve air service, which they say is critical for economic development. 

http://legisweb.state.wy.us/LegislatorSummary/LegDetail.aspx?LegID=1241

After a late night debate, the Wyoming House of Representatives gave initial support for a controversial bill that intends to punish people who damage or tamper with infrastructure such as pipelines or oil and gas facilities. The House amended the measure to narrow what would be declared a felony and reduced the fine for someone convicted, down from $1 million to $100,000.

Wyoming Legislature

The Senate Education Committee stripped out innovative school funding amendments out of a bill after committee members declared the ideas move not germane to the original bill. They also amended the bill so that it resembled a measure that died in a house committee earlier this year.   

Speaker of the House Steve Harshman and House Education Chairman David Northrup were frustrated with the move. They disagreed that the funding proposals didn’t belong in the bill. Northrup says new revenue for education is needed.

Bob Beck

The issue of making edible marijuana a felony is still alive...for now. The House Judiciary Committee voted to advance a heavily amended bill that is much different than the Senate version. 

The problem is that some judges won’t sentence someone for a felony of procession of edible marijuana. John Knepper of the Wyoming Attorney General’s office says they are starting to see serious problems with edible marijuana in the state.

LSO

The Wyoming House of Representatives gave initial support to a pair of bills focused on improving Wyoming’s economy. 

The bills would help bring high-speed broadband to more areas of the state and start to find ways to improve air service in Wyoming. Some House members were skeptical about the need to eventually spend $15 million on air service, but House Majority Leader David Miller told a few horror stories about getting major business leaders to Riverton. 

Miller said service gets canceled and flights are delayed on a consistent basis.

WCADVSA

A bill strengthening how stalking offenders are prosecuted and sentenced is moving through the Wyoming legislature.

 

But Tara Muir, Public Policy Director with the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said the bill has met debate every step of the way. She said lawmakers have been caught up on whether a prosecutor has to prove a victim suffered a substantial amount of fear. Muir added most states are moving towards an objective test that focuses on the behavior of the perpetrator.

 

The Wyoming Senate made major changes to a bill that would allow someone to use deadly force if their life is in danger or they face the threat of bodily harm. 

The biggest change to the Stand Your Ground Bill removed immunity from prosecution and civil liability for someone who uses deadly force. Senator Drew Perkins says his amendment moves the bill closer to what other states are doing. Senator Anthony Bouchard said the Perkins amendment guts the bill. He added that people in Wyoming have gone to prison for just defending themselves.

A bill that would remove several million dollars from the education funding model was approved on second reading despite some amendments.  The bill was changed to reduce cuts that most school districts would face to roughly three percent.

Wyoming State Legislature

It’s the halfway point of the Wyoming legislative session, and Wyoming Public Radio News Director Bob Beck joins Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to discuss what the big issues are for the state's lawmakers.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming House and Senate wrapped up budget work Friday. As predicted the Senate made several reductions to education spending. Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe says the cuts were outside of the classroom and were necessary when you look at the state’s fiscal situation. 

“If all the cuts take place that we are talking about here with what we did last year, we are talking about 5 percent in cuts total. Most agencies have taken ten and 12 percent, community colleges have taken 15 percent cuts, the University has cut $41 million. So, I think there’s room for reductions.”

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Senate heard its version of a Stand Your Ground gun law and gave it initial support despite a lot of concern over a presumed innocence provision. The House is considering a similar bill.

EQC Funding Restored

Feb 25, 2018

The Wyoming Senate on Friday voted to overturn a decision by the Joint Appropriations Committee to remove future funding from the state’s Environmental Quality Council. 

The funding was removed over the fact that the EQC opposed a coal mine in Sheridan County. Senator Cale Case says the issue was clearly payback.

“And Mr. President you and I both know that’s not the best way to handle an appellate agency that has such an important role in our state.”

Casper College

On Tuesday, Casper became the latest community in Wyoming to pass a non-discrimination resolution for LGBT residents. The resolution passed Casper’s city council with a six to three vote.

It does not hold the same legal teeth as an ordinance, but Reverend Dee Lundberg said it’s a start. She is with Casper’s PFLAG group, an LGBT advocacy organization. During previous city council meetings, there was discussion of drafting another version of the resolution, one that would take out the specific references to LGBT people. Lundberg said she’s glad that version did not move forward.

Digest For SF-98
Wyoming Legislative Service Office

Proposed legislation passed introduction in the State Senate last Friday that would cut the severance tax rate in half for petroleum and natural gas companies for a certain period of time. The reduction from 6 percent to 3 percent would take place during the project's third year until the end of its fourth. 

Marion Orr

An effort to pass legislation to help smaller communities get high-speed internet is getting pushback from those in the industry. Lobbyists presented a substitute bill presumably intended to keep communities from forming their own internet operations. 

Legislative Service Office

Despite some strong opposition, the Wyoming House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill that would set up an investments task force with the goal of getting more money out of Wyoming’s investments. 

Wyoming State Legislature

A Senate legislative committee has approved two bills intended to help address the state’s opioid problem. One bill sets up a task force to determine what the problem is and what could be done about it and the other sets up tracking for controlled substance prescriptions in the state. 

Kemmerer Senator Fred Baldwin says they want to track prescriptions so they know who is getting what and how often. 

Bob Beck

A State Senate Committee voted to unanimously support a bill that will help the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality clean up abandoned contaminated sites in the state. The DEQ has been busy repairing a number of so-called orphan sites around the state where the companies are no longer available to pay for the cleanup.  

Luke Esch of the DEQ says the legislation provides money from an account funded by taxes and fees. 

"Really allows us to get away from general funds and find a sustainable source of funding for these projects."

Bob Beck

In his State of the State message, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said during the economic downturn some budget cuts went too deep, including those felt by the Department of Health and the Department of Family Services.

Laramie Representative Charles Pelkey, a Democrat, said he agrees.

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