politics

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Early one November morning last year, Devils Tower Senator Ogden Driskill got a call from Afton Senator Dan Dockstader.

"He'd discovered that Rocky Mountain Power was accelerating closure of a number of their coal-fired units down around Kemmerer in his district," Driskill said.

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House Democrats are pushing an effort to overhaul the nation's election and ethics laws. But Wyoming Republicans say the effort is a smokescreen to help keep Democrats in power.

An environmental group is launching a campaign to defend the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which has been a target for President Trump. The court hears some of the most important environmental and other cases in our region.

Utah’s Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s request for the Trump administration to rollback restrictions on 4 million acres of national forest land in his state has environmentalists raising flags that it could spur a wave of states in the region to follow suit.

A study in the medical journal BMJ found a strong association between the strength of a state’s gun laws and its rate of mass shootings.

Paul Reeping is an epidemiologist with Columbia University and first author on the paper. He says researchers had already looked at the relationship between gun laws and outcomes like suicide or homicide.

At least one state in our region is poised to join the movement to change how we vote for our president. Colorado’s Governor, Jared Polis, is expected to sign legislation soon.

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Governor Mark Gordon's appointee for Wyoming Attorney General is only the second woman to serve in the position. Bridgett Hill was sworn in by the State Senate this week, marking an already significant career serving the state of Wyoming.

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Back in September, a federal judge ruled the Greater Yellowstone grizzlies should be put back under Endangered Species Act protections, which means the federal government has the last say in the bear's management. But during Wyoming's legislative session, Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill that authorizes the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission to manage grizzly bears. If the commission does decide to manage the bears, would it be legal?

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This week the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a measure rejecting President Trump's emergency declaration so he can build his long-desired wall. There also seems to be enough opposition in the Senate to reject it, but neither chamber looks to have enough votes to override Trump's promised veto. But Senator John Barrasso is all in with Trump. 

Rachel Girt

With the end of the legislative session, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon is spending most of his time reviewing bills. He takes a break to join Bob Beck to discuss the past legislative session. 

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming legislature has passed a bill that makes it legal to grow hemp in Wyoming, and legalizes the sale of products made from hemp, including CBD oil.

A bill that would have imposed a 20-hour work requirement on those who receive Medicaid has been defeated.

Bob Beck

Community Colleges may soon be able to offer bachelors degrees of applied sciences. The House gave final approval to a bill that supporters say will help economic development and can improve the number of four-year degrees in Wyoming.

Stephanie Joyce

The Wyoming House and Senate went well into the morning hours and adjourned without reaching a deal on a bill that provides a severance tax break for closed in oil and gas wells.

The disagreement was over the price when the tax kicked in. Earlier in the day Cheyenne Representative Bob Nicholas feared that the legislation would let some companies take advantage of the state by re-starting wells and paying small amounts of severance tax money at a point where the wells are the most productive.

Wyoming State Legislature

  

The Wyoming legislative session has technically adjourned, though there are still some loose ends to wrap up. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to discuss Medicaid, tax measures, and what could carry into the interim session.

Legislation to mandate the use of cutting edge technology in fighting wildfires passed the House Wednesday and is now headed to the president’s desk.

 


Bob Beck

The Wyoming Senate has passed a bill that would allow the Board of Medicine to sanction doctors who don't tell the state that they performed an abortion. Supporters say they are trying to put teeth into a law that currently exists.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given final approval to a bill that will allow a private school to be built in Teton County without interference from local officials.

Senate Defeats Lodging Tax

Feb 26, 2019
Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The last major revenue raising measure for the state has failed. The Senate defeated a 5 percent lodging tax increase, with 3 percent of revenues going towards statewide tourist promotion and the rest going to counties.

The Trump administration is assembling a panel to take a second look at recent federal climate change reports.

Falmouth Public Library

The Wyoming Senate has given initial support to a five percent lodging tax that could provide over $20 million to Wyoming's tourism industry. Three percent of the tax would go towards state tourism promotion and the other two percent would go to counties to promote local tourism. Senator Hank Coe of Cody said during floor debate that the tax is important.

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A Senate committee has voted 4-1 to approve a bill that would require doctors who perform abortions to document how many times they have performed the procedure.

Oil and gas drilling on Butler’s property.
Cooper McKim

A bill that would give a severance tax exemption to encourage oil and gas producers to re-open shut down wells will go to the House Floor.

People listen to proceedings in the Wyoming House of Representatives
Bob Beck

A bill that would remove county zoning authority from over private schools has received initial support from the Wyoming House of Representatives.

MILFORD, Utah — The San Francisco Mountains in southwestern Utah were once home to one of the richest silver mines in the world. When it comes to mining today, they stand mostly quiet — for now — with only a handful of rock mines operating in the area.

Falmouth Public Library

The Wyoming Senate will soon get a chance to debate a 5 percent statewide lodging tax proposal that supporters say will raise $32 million. Most of the money will go to fund tourism promotion in the state.

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Wyoming is a step closer to having a new public records law. The House passed Senate File 57 that sets up deadlines for governmental agencies to respond to a public records request and puts in place an ombudsman whose job is to make sure those requests are met.

Strong opposition to a proposed corporate income tax that was targeted at large-box stores will likely die this session without a vote. After a lot of opposition, the bill started to lose support in the Senate.

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This week the U.S. Senate passed a sweeping and historic bill that would make the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent. A feat many hunters and fisherman, along with environmentalists, had thought was impossible after the GOP allowed it to lapse last year.

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More than 750 days into the Trump administration and the Department of Interior may be violating a little known-law. The Vacancies Act was designed specifically for top federal positions that are nominated by the president and need Senate approval. Anne Joseph O'Connell is an expert on the federal law and a professor of law at Stanford University.

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