politics

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A Wyoming legislative committee has voted down a tax bill that could have raised over $40 million in the next three years by removing the sales tax exemption on large data centers.

Economic Development professionals and the Mayor of Cheyenne opposed the bill, telling lawmakers that data centers as they are provide more of an economic impact than a sales tax would provide.

The Senate confirmation hearing for Deb Haaland, nominated to lead the Interior Department, began Tuesday. If confirmed, she'll be the nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary and oversee federal public lands management and tribal affairs.

Updated 12:59 p.m. ET

Former U.S. Capitol Security officials told Congress during a joint hearing on Tuesday they did not have sufficient information ahead of Jan. 6 to accurately predict the scale of the attack.

The House Natural Resources Committee is one of the most powerful congressional bodies when it comes to managing the West's public lands. But the committee's first meeting of the year devolved into an argument over guns. 

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

President Biden's pick for attorney general, Merrick Garland, vowed Monday that protecting civil rights and combating domestic terrorism would be priorities for the Justice Department under his watch.

Garland, a widely respected judge who has served for more than 20 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Watch the hearing live.

Bob Beck


For the last several years the Wyoming Senate, in particular, has been promising to make major cuts to education funding. While there have been reductions, K-12 education has not faced the types of cuts the Department of Health, the University of Wyoming, or other areas of state government has endured. This year there seems to be momentum to make education cuts, but the current proposal may not be constitutional.

MR. Pockets, via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

In 2020, Governor Mark Gordon asked school districts across Wyoming to start considering what a 10 percent funding cut would look like. And even more recently lawmakers are suggesting cuts around 6.5 percent.

CCO Public Domain

Members of the Republican legislative leadership say reducing education spending is a priority this session.

During a news conference, House Majority Leader Albert Sommers said he favors a committee bill that would reduce K-12 spending by $100 million while also imposing a tax to pay for future education spending.

 

 

New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland is poised to become our nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary. As some prominent Mountain West lawmakers oppose her confirmation to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior, many of their Indigenous constituents are pushing back.

Updated on Saturday at 6:20 p.m. ET: The video for this event has ended.

Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial came to a close on Saturday, with Democrats falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict the former president.

The final vote was 57 to 43. Seven Republicans joined with all of the chamber's Democrats and independents to vote to convict.

Trump faced a single impeachment charge, incitement of an insurrection, for his role in urging a mob to attack the Capitol complex on Jan. 6.

Gun sales have spiked during the pandemic, and retailers are running low on ammunition all around the country.


The number of hate and extremist groups declined last year, but that doesn’t mean the threat from these groups is diminishing.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual report “The Year in Hate and Extremism” counted 838 active hate groups in 2020, an 11% decline from the previous year. Despite a decrease in the number of hate groups, the report notes that overall they are still at “historic highs.”

U.S. House Office of Photography

This week Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney beat back an effort to oust her from the GOP leadership. The party is now showing a unified face, but the right wing of the party is still frustrated with Cheney and Democrats say the debate shows how today's GOP lives in an alternative reality.

Ad valorem taxes contribute to local and state-wide school funds
Pexels

The Wyoming House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on a path forward to solve a problem that has plagued the state for years: ad valorem tax collection.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

An effort to educate Wyoming school children on the topic of suicide prevention has been defeated by the Wyoming House of Representatives. Lawmakers defeated House Bill 62 saying that such discussions should take place outside of schools.

Gillette Rep. John Bear who lost his son to suicide, opposed the bill, saying young people need to get hope from the faith community.

Mark Brennan via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

After a lengthy discussion, the Wyoming House of Representatives gave initial approval to a bill that increases the amount of maintenance money state parks can use.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature is planning a hybrid session in March that will be both remote and in-person after the governor and lawmakers agreed to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to interested legislators and other key players.

Three known members of anti-government group the Oath Keepers were the first to be charged with conspiring to commit violence after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

But this group didn't start in Washington, D.C. or somewhere else on the East Coast. Rather, Elmer Stewart Rhodes created the Oath Keepers in Montana in 2009. 


Dan Boyce

The Wyoming Senate gave its final approval on Friday to a bill that would change the net metering law in the state.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Senate voted Friday to cut funding to local governments for the coming year. The reduction is part of the need to address the loss of revenue to the state due to the downturn in the energy industry. The $10.5 million reduction will impact communities differently, but likely will impact things like staffing and services to the public.

Brittany Patterson

Wyoming U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis has introduced legislation that would prevent a moratorium on oil, gas, or coal without congressional approval.

Screenshot from The Hill

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz told a large crowd in front of the Wyoming State Capitol that Congresswoman Liz Cheney should be defeated in the next election on Thursday.

Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert stunned political observers last summer when she beat five-term incumbent Congressman Scott Tipton in the Republican primary.

"She was able to pull off an upset that, by the way, had not been done in Colorado since 1972," said Dick Wadhams, a former chair of the Colorado Republican Party. He points out that Boebert's opponent was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. So how did she pull it off?

"A lot of it was style," Wadhams said.

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

At about 7 p.m. ET Monday, House impeachment managers delivered to the Senate an article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump, a move that prompts preparations for a historic trial.

Peabody Energy, Inc.

The Trump Administration did not weigh in on a legal case that could impact the future of coal in Wyoming and Montana, leaving open the possibility for the new Biden Administration to weigh in instead.

smithforwyoming.com


It's been an interesting month for U.S. Representative Liz Cheney. After handily winning reelection in November, she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump and has faced a strong backlash. Cheney has been censured by the Carbon County Republican Party, is likely to be censured by the Republican Central Committee next month, and already has primary opponents for 2022.

It's a list that includes State Senator Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne. One person that faced off against her the first time she ran is former Laramie County Republican Chairman Darin Smith. Smith actually attended the rally in Washington D.C. protesting the acceptance of the voting results and was shocked to see the riots occur. But he told Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck that he was more shocked that Congresswoman Cheney's reaction to the riot was to vote to impeach President Trump.

The Mountain West is home to dozens of far-right extremist groups. In the wake of the U.S. Capitol riots on January 6, lawmakers are mulling how to protect the nation from domestic terrorism. Some have pushed for Congress to create a new domestic terrorism charge.

 

But this week 135 civil rights organizations came out in opposition to expanding terrorism-related legal authority.

Longtime State Sen. Hank Coe has died of cancer. Coe first represented Cody In the State Senate in 1989 and played a big role in issues surrounding economic development, air service and education.

Map of final parcels sold in BLM's Q4 lease sale
Bureau of Land Management

The Biden Administration has handed down a sweeping order that temporarily suspends several agency actions including the issuing of federal fossil fuel leases for the next 60 days, unless otherwise reviewed and approved by leadership.

Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET

Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, having defeated Donald Trump in an acrimonious, divisive election last November.

Biden was sworn in alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in an unusual inauguration ceremony, conducted amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and heightened physical security risks.

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