politics

Wyoming State Legislature

The Wyoming legislative session gets underway today. Wyoming Public Radio news director Bob Beck - who has covered lawmakers since 1985 - joined Morning Edition host Caroline Ballard to discuss what might happen this year.

Courtesy of the Wyoming Governor's office

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said he's looking forward to seeing the state become a source for innovation and a beacon for others.

State of Wyoming Legislature

A State Senator has proposed a bill that would no longer let people change political parties close to the primary election.

Unlike previous administrations, President Trump’s Interior Department has directed national parks to keep their gates open while furloughing most workers during this latest government shutdown. But as the partial shutdown enters its third week, critics argue the parks are becoming unsafe.

Flickr Creative Commons

When the government shuts down, it can't carry through on its historic commitments to Native American tribes. The Wind River Reservation's tribes signed treaties with the government in the late 1800s, giving up vast expanses of land in exchange for health care, police services and other basic needs like food. Eastern Shoshone councilor Leslie Shakespeare said, already some seasonal transportation employees had to be laid off because of the shutdown.

Last year, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the state can't force air ambulance companies to charge the same rate as a ground ambulance. The cost of a ride in an ambulance is about $5000 while a helicopter ride can cost nine times more.

Erik Neumann

2018 was an interesting year for our region. From elections and population growth to an evolving debate about public lands use, the Mountain West News Bureau tackled all kinds of stories. We took a look back.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, may try to re-introduce landmark legislation that would address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in the U.S.

A new rule proposed last week by the U.S. Interior Department could make it harder for news outlets and non-profit organizations to get public information on a range of federal issues.

cityofcody-wy.gov

The federal government has been shut down since December 21 and the city of Cody isn't feeling as impacted as the federally owned land surrounding it.

On Thursday, Democrats take back control of the House. Among several priorities is reviving a popular bipartisan conservation program that’s been dead for months.

Kristin Walker

Wyoming's next Governor Mark Gordon has been holed up trying to hire a staff, while also trying to get prepared for the legislative session. He took a few minutes to tell Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck what he's been up to since the election.

Funding for one of the Mountain West's key environmental protection programs is on hold until after the holidays. 

The federal government has continually broken treaty promises to tribal nations, according to a damning new report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Several Mountain West Republicans are reportedly on the short list to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, after President Donald Trump announced his imminent departure over the weekend.

Since 1964 the Land and Water Conservation Fund has used royalties from oil and gas leasing to protect natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage, as well as to provide recreation opportunities. The Fund expired at the end of September, but both the House and Senate have proposed bills to permanently reauthorize it so its future doesn't remain in jeopardy.

NPS Climate Change Response

As the urgency around climate change increases, here’s a look at how the West is reacting.

Lawmakers grilled federal law enforcement agencies over their lack of rigorous investigations into missing and murdered indigenous women at a landmark Senate hearing Wednesday.

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Western states are likely to be affected most by the Trump administration's proposal to roll back parts of the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency would no longer give special protections to thousands of miles of seasonal streams and millions of acres of wetlands that often go dry by late summer in the arid West. That would leave states to decide whether to protect such waters themselves. 

Public record requests have played a major role in spurring multiple ethics investigations into U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

A Colorado District Judge has ruled it is unconstitutional to detain inmates purely on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Similar cases have been argued throughout our region.

Bob Beck

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is wrapping up his time in office. Bob Beck caught up with him at an event in Cheyenne this week. They discuss the difficulties Mead had in cutting the budget and why Wyoming's economic future looks so positive. Mead also talks about his biggest disappointment, which is not making a difference when it comes to providing affordable and accessible health care.

Wyoming Legislature logo
Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming Legislature's Management Council has voted to change and weaken its anti-discrimination and harassment policy.

Wyoming State Legislature

The Wyoming Legislature is moving forward on policy that would require all schools to engage in training and create safety plans in the event of a violent intruder. The bill crafted by Cheyenne Senator Affie Ellis was approved by the legislature's joint education committee nine to four.

Watch Live Coverage: Bush National Cathedral Ceremony

Dec 5, 2018
Cameron Pollack/NPR

Former President George H.W. Bush is being honored with funeral services at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. The 41st president will be eulogized by his son, former President George W. Bush, as well as a former U.S. senator and a former Canadian prime minister. Dozens of U.S. and world leaders are expected to attend the service.

Roughly a third of Americans said climate change played into their voting decisions in the last four years. Other than Colorado, voters in the Mountain West are even less interested in the issue. Bernie Sanders is trying to change that. He hosted an online town hall on the topic Monday night.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said he wants to provide pay raises to state employees and K-12 educators in the state. The proposal is part of the governor's supplemental budget. Community College employees and some classified staff at the University of Wyoming would also be eligible for raises. Mead said the time is right.

nca2018.globalchange.gov

The federal government released a sweeping report on climate change last week that predicts more wildfires and catastrophic weather across the nation unless lawmakers act, but like most Republicans Wyoming's lawmakers don't take the document too seriously.

Bob Beck

A Wyoming legislative committee has quietly put together a series of bills that is looking at the high cost of health care in the state as well as making health care more accessible. At a recent meeting of the legislature's Health and Labor Committee, Senator Charles Scott stated that consumers pay a lot for health care in the state.

Peter Uetz, Wikimedia Commons

The town of Jackson plans to ban disposable plastic bags starting in April. The ban follows the lead of other resort communities like Aspen and Telluride that have enacted similar ordinances.

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