politics

Updated at 12:22 p.m. ET

Joe Biden addressed the nation for the first time as its 46th president on Wednesday. Biden spoke at a scaled-down event before a divided nation still reeling from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and from the coronavirus pandemic that has now killed more than 400,000 Americans.

But his remarks were ones of hope.

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The Wyoming House Revenue Committee has actually approved a tax bill. Committee members voted to send a 14 cents a pack increase on cigarettes to the House floor. The bill also increases the tax on smokeless tobacco by 12 cents.

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The state Senate Corporations Committee approved a bill that would reform the net metering system for those who use renewable energy to reduce their electricity rates. The vote comes despite opposition from those saying the change would reduce the incentive to install solar.

Updated 7:10 p.m. ET

Gen. Lloyd Austin, President-elect Joe Biden's pick to head the Pentagon, went before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday in a bid to make history by being confirmed as the nation's first Black secretary of defense.

During his opening statement, Austin, 67, addressed the biggest issue hovering over his nomination.

Updated at 3:49 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, appeared before a Senate panel Tuesday to begin his confirmation process, vowing to do everything he can so that an attack on the Capitol like the one on Jan. 6 "will not happen again."

Mayorkas, who would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead that department, was previously the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency, during the Obama administration. He then served as deputy secretary of DHS.

Pixabay, Public Domain

The pandemic has made the position of county public health officer more than just a part-time job: it has become political. So far, two officers in Wyoming have been removed from their positions and one has resigned. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska spoke with Washakie County's public officer, who did the work for ten years until he was removed by the commission this past fall. Dr. Ed Zimmerman said before the pandemic, the position was relatively easy.

Updated at 8:37 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden outlined his plans for economic relief from the coronavirus crisis on Thursday, citing the need for a more robust vaccination plan as well as for additional direct payments to American families to help recover the U.S. economy. His plan, called the American Rescue Plan, is expected to cost $1.9 trillion.


Last summer, I met up with Ben Barto outside the small town of Dubois, Wyo. He's a huge Trump supporter and we were having a conversation about where he thought America was headed. 

"Revolution," he said. "I think it's headed there."

U.S. House Office of Photography

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney says her vote to impeach President Donald Trump was done so with a heavy heart, but said she had no choice.

Wyoming PBS

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said the state is prepared to protect its energy industry against the Biden administration, but he is concerned that regulations could continue to hurt the state's bottom line.

Annette Elizabeth Allen for NPR

The U.S. House of Representatives is debating an article of impeachment against President Trump following the violence at the U.S. Capitol. The article charges Trump with incitement of insurrection. Watch the debate and vote live.

U.S. House Office of Photography

In a press release sent out Tuesday afternoon, Wyoming Congresswoman and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney announced she would vote to impeach President Trump. She is the first member of the GOP congressional leadership to do so.

 

State lawmakers across the Mountain West are convening for legislative sessions that will focus largely on the fallout of the pandemic. But without significant precautions, statehouses could become hotbeds for COVID-19 spread.

Legislative sessions typically bring together hundreds of lawmakers, legislative staff, lobbyists, journalists, and members of the public. They travel to and from every corner of a given state and gather indoors, sometimes in cramped meeting spaces.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

The U.S. House of Representatives is taking up a resolution that would call on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and take over President Trump's duties. The effort comes as the House is also pursuing a second impeachment against the president over the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Watch the House proceedings live.

Updated at 11:29 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved a symbolic resolution urging Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment against President Trump, after the president's No. 2 has expressed that he would not exercise that option. The move comes nearly a week after violent pro-Trump extremists breached the U.S. Capitol.

A newly elected congresswoman from Colorado says she’ll carry a handgun on Capitol Hill.

 



Wyoming Public Radio's Capitol Hill Correspondent Matt Laslo was covering the counting of the electoral votes in the U.S. Capitol when it was stormed by Trump supporters this week. Laslo joined Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck and described his experience.

There are a lot of questions about why the pro-Trump mob was able to breach the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. One pertains to the National Guard: Where were they?


The insurrection in the U.S. Capitol on January 6 stunned the nation and the world. Many lawmakers in the Mountain West played a role in this unprecedented moment in history – whether they have decried President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn a free and fair election or supported his baseless claims.

Prominent Republicans in the region including Sen. Mitt Romney from Utah and Rep. Liz Cheney in Wyoming have condemned the president's conspiracy theories.

Updated at 3:54 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden delivered a blistering rebuke of President Trump on Thursday, a day after a pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol.

Biden called Wednesday "one of the darkest days" in U.S. history but said: "I wish we could say we couldn't see it coming. But that isn't true. We could see it coming."

Alan Simpson

On Wednesday, pro-Trump extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., stopping the counting of the electoral vote and forcing House and Senate members, as well as staff and journalists, to evacuate.

Matt Laslo

Members of Wyoming's Congressional Delegation were quickly moved to safety after a group of pro-Trump extremists overtook the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan 6.

Updated at 6:38 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed House lawmakers that Congress will reconvene Wednesday night to continue its constitutional duty to count and certify the electoral votes after pro-Trump protestors breached the Capitol and forced Capitol Police to evacuate both the House and Senate.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-WY sitting next to President Donald Trump meeting with members of Congress in a bipartisan meeting to discuss infrastructure proposals in 2018
Public Domain/Shealah Craighead

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso voiced concern on Fox News Sunday as President-elect Joe Biden's climate team comes into focus. The Republican chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and says he isn't planning to let nominations move forward without a fight.


Soon after she was elected as one of America's first Indigenous congresswomen in 2018, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland paid a visit to her constituents at the Pueblo of Sandia, just outside of Albuquerque. 

"She came to the Pueblo for one of our feast days," said Stephine Poston, a tribal citizen and advocate for Native women leadership. "And the young girls, a couple of them were following her around and she stopped to talk to them. It was an amazing thing to see and witness." 

Poston said Haaland may as well have been a celebrity to those girls, but she didn't act like one. 

"She's just that person who will stop and see you," Poston said. 

And she said that's how Pueblo people, and Indigenous people across the country, have been feeling since Haaland was nominated to lead the Department of the Interior: Seen.

The Sony Handycam, of all things, foretold what may soon be a massive mine on public lands in Nevada.

In the early 1990s, the camcorder became the first product to use lithium-ion batteries commercially. Since then, the technology has been used to power our laptops, smartphones, and now electric vehicles and homes.

Senator Mike Enzi

After more than two decades of representing Wyoming in the United States Senate, Mike Enzi is retiring. Some of his colleagues say his departure is going to leave a huge deficit in the upper chamber.

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

A state legislative committee is discussing the last stages of approval for a major oil and gas project in Converse County. The U.S. Department of Interior just has to sign the Record of Decision (ROD), which Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee members like Douglas Sen. Brian Boner is anxious to finish or even speed up.

Andrew Graham, WyoFile

The Albany County Democratic Party has provided the names of three people to replace Dave O'Malley as the Albany County sheriff. Democrats picked former Sheriff's Deputy Gary Wilken, current University of Wyoming police officer Aaron Appelhans, and Laramie County District Attorney Baend Buus who lives in Albany County.

States only have a few weeks left to spend federal COVID-19 relief funds, which is spurring lawmakers around the Mountain West to pass major aid deals now.


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