politics

Associated Press

The State Senate has passed a bill that sets up a process for legislators to review the school funding model and take a close look at education requirements.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Declining oil prices, a lack of substantial budget cuts, and concerns spending reserves dominated discussion as the Wyoming House and Senate gave final approval to its two-year budget.

Our station will increase engagement journalism efforts this year by partnering with other public radio stations and collaborating networks in a regional reporting initiative called America Amplified: Election 2020.

Updated 9:40 a.m. MST 3/10/2020
 
Former presidential candidate Steve Bullock is officially running for a Montana Senate seat, making the Mountain West region a big player in Democrats’ push to flip the U.S. Senate.

The Bureau of Land Management’s plan to move its headquarters out west is costing the agency around half the employees asked to make the move, according to a new report from federal watchdog Government Accountability Office.


Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming Senate is scheduled to debate a bill today to set up a gaming commission who will determine how to regulate the growth in video gambling in the state.

Wyoming State Senator Affie Ellis.
LINDSAY LINTON BUK

Cheyenne Senator Affie Ellis successfully added an amendment to include more non-politicians in discussions over how Wyoming spends its education money.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A state capital construction bill received final approval from the Wyoming House, setting the stage for a conference committee that will focus on what the University of Wyoming will get. 

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature will be undertaking what is called a recalibration of its school funding system. It's a process where lawmakers look at what they require of educators and the state is paying enough for education. But for the first time since it was developed, the committee will study what is in Wyoming's basket of goods. Those are the skills and content areas students are required to learn, such as math and science.

Melodie Edwards

The Holy Grail in the fight to stop climate change is reaching a bipartisan solution. To reach that end, the group Citizen Climate Lobby sent their regional director Bill Barron around Wyoming this month to engage in community conversation.

At his stop in Laramie, Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with Barron to hear about the proposal his organization says is already drawing consensus from many sides: a bipartisan bill proposing a carbon fee and dividend plan. The group is putting together action teams in the state too. You can learn more at their website

Online GIS Maps; Cooper McKim

Wyoming legislators are working through two bills that would lay the groundwork to study and potentially buy over a million acres of land and four million acres of mineral rights across the southern part of the state.

The 1,010,900 acres of land in question sits within six Wyoming counties: Lincoln, Uinta, Carbon, Albany, Laramie, and Sweetwater. Local officials are beginning to grapple with the potential risks and rewards of the deal.

It’s a Monday night in Salt Lake City and thousands of people are gathering to hear Democratic presidential nominee Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, speak at a convention hall downtown. Parker and Chloe Woods have just driven an hour and a half from the university town of Logan, Utah, to be here. 

“We have loved Mayor Pete ever since he announced his candidacy for presidency,” Chloe Woods says. 

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

Both the Wyoming House and Senate began discussing the possible purchase of a million acres of surface land and four million acres of mineral rights. Legislative leaders said the goal is to establish ground rules that could make such a purchase possible. 

It looks like President Trump’s partial trade deal with China won’t bring in the promised $40 billion or so worth of agricultural trade for the U.S. this year. 

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature has been meeting for a couple of weeks now and it seems very similar to past sessions. There's not going to be tax increases, there's a lot of talk about budget cutting, but hardly any real cuts are underway. This despite the fact that revenue projections remain dire.

Cooper McKim

The House Revenue Committee sat down on an early Wednesday morning to a full audience. Chairman Dan Zwonitzer, who represents Cheyenne, switched seats in order to testify on a bill called "Reliable and Dispatchable Low-Carbon Energy Standards."

Earlier this month, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for next year. It included significant cuts to the U.S. Geological Survey, but that agency’s director told the Mountain West News Bureau that’s not going to happen.

Bureau of Land Management

Ten years ago, when Colorado College first conducted the Conservation in the West Poll, 48 percent of respondents said yes, climate change is a problem requiring action. This year, that number is up to 59 percent.

Governor Mark Gordon announced this week that Wyoming is looking to buying a million acres of land across southern Wyoming and surrounding states along with 4 million acres of mineral rights.

kamila kudelska

Former candidate for Wyoming governor Foster Friess has started a series of listening sessions around the state.

The multimillionaire is considering running for the U.S. Senate that became open after Sen. Mike Enzi announced his retirement after his current term. But before he makes a final decision, Friess announced he will go around the state to see if he should get in the race.

It’s no secret that Michael Bloomberg is spending a lot on his Democratic presidential campaign, from Super Bowl ads to social media influencers. But he’s also spending a lot of that money to hire staff in the Mountain West. 


As Nevadans get ready to caucus this weekend, the nation should be paying attention. That’s because unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first caucus and primary were held, respectively, Nevada’s population more closely mirrors the U.S. According to the U.S. Census, almost one-third of the state is Hispanic or Latino.

A Utah Republican state lawmaker is pushing a resolution condemning its neighbor, Colorado, if voters there decide to pass a November ballot initiative to reintroduce gray wolves into the southern Rockies.

Update 9:45 a.m. PST: According to the state Democratic Party, more than 70,000 Nevadans took part in the early caucus voting period from Saturday through Tuesday.

The first wave of Democratic voters are casting their ballots in Nevada’s early caucuses, and the process looks different than in years past.

Aiming to boost turnout, Nevada Democrats instituted a four-day early voting period for the first time this year. It appears to be working. According to the state Democratic Party, more than 36,000 Nevadans took part in early caucus voting over the long weekend, and more than half of Saturday’s 18,000 voters were first-time participants.

Listen to the story here.

A bill to effectively decriminalize polygamy for consenting adults unanimously passed the Utah Senate Tuesday. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The State of Wyoming is working on a massive land deal that would involve one million square acres across southern Wyoming.

Downtown Laramie

Laramie could lose $400,000 over two years in state funding under a formula approved by the Wyoming Senate last week.

Listen to this story here.

After congressional Democrats voted this week to give one of their own the power to subpoena the Trump administration, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed the move as a “witch hunt.”

As part of its budget plan, the Trump administration proposes spending $150 million for a new uranium reserve. That could help struggling uranium mining companies in the Mountain West. But the idea has its critics.

 


Recognizing the youth mental health crisis in the Mountain West, some states are debating bills that address the problem from both inside and outside of schools.

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