politics

An all-Republican legislative committee voted to reject a bill that would have prevented people from switching political parties prior to the primary election.

Uranium, coal, oil and gas, and wind energy are all being discussed this legislature -- and the word of the hour is revenue
Cooper McKim/Wyoming Public Radio

The big hitters in the energy industry are all back on the docket this session: coal, wind, uranium, and oil and gas. Unsurprisingly, the focus is on revenue for all of them. Here’s a look at a few of the bills still under discussion.

Bob Beck

A private school with some notable political ties has gotten into a fight with Teton County over whether it can build a new campus to accommodate a growing population. The Jackson Hole Classical Academy teaches a back-to-basics curriculum with a slight religious bent. After repeatedly being denied a chance to build to a scale school officials say is needed, the fight has come to Cheyenne and legislators are involved.

The ski industry is an important economic driver in our region, but it's facing a lot of changes. Climate change, for one, is transforming ski resort leaders into activists and lobbyists.

Yellowstone River
National Park Service

The official non-profit of the National Park Service has set up a fund to help repair parks once they reopen.

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

It's the fourth week of the government shutdown, and furloughed government employees did not receive their first paycheck.

Flickr Creative Commons/Meal Makeover Moms

Three schools on the Wind River Reservation are offering free lunches to people affected by the government shutdown.

Wyoming Legislature

A bill that would have taken away local zoning policies when it comes to private schools was changed to place private facilities on equal footing with public schools.

Two bills are currently moving through the legislature that would give the Wyoming Game and Fish Department more flexibility to manage the collecting of antlers on the landscape. Right now, people can collect them anytime between January 1 and May 1 in designated areas of the state.

curtmeierfortreasurer.com

In November, Curt Meier replaced now-Governor Mark Gordon as the state treasurer. Meier said the Treasurer's Office has been busy filling new staff positions while staying within budget.

Wyoming State Legislature

A group of Wyoming legislators is hoping this is the year that they repeal the death penalty. Douglas Senator Brian Boner and Cheyenne Representative Jared Olsen are sponsoring the bill. They note that no one has been executed in Wyoming since 1992, yet the state still has to pay nearly a million dollars a year to defend cases. 

Public Domain

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon asked the legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee to fund a $10 million carbon capture test project. Gordon said the money would be provided to the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources.

Leonard J. DeFrancisci via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Wyoming legislature is considering a bill that would raise millions to support the state's tourism economy.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Three bills that are intended to help fix Wyoming's wage gap are headed to the House Floor. Wyoming ranks 50th in the country when it comes to how much women earn on the dollar compared to men.

Bob Beck

If you walk the halls of the Jonah Building where the Wyoming legislature meets you will see lawmakers discussing hot topics related to education, health care, elections and what to do about Wyoming's growing prison population. But like most years the main focus is on money. For several years now lawmakers have worried about unstable revenue sources. 

Wyoming Legislature

Every year the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault gives out what they call PEACE awards ("promoting excellence in advocacy for change and empowerment"). Back in November, they gave one out for best leadership in policymaking. It went to six Wyoming lawmakers who worked to pass six news laws to better protect victims of violence.

While many pundits are predicting pure gridlock for the next two years, Wyoming's senior senator Mike Enzi senses an opening to completely revamp how Washington spends money. He's the chair of the Budget Committee and he's using that perch to call for overhauling the way both parties dole out cash and blow up the federal debt and deficit, including Republicans over the last two years. That's why Enzi wants to start by changing from an annual to a two-year budget process, like they have in Cheyenne.

Rachel Girt

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said the state's best years are ahead and outlined several plans during his state of the state message to move Wyoming forward.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could restore tribal hunting rights in Wyoming, which could affect tribes throughout our region.


Despite the government shutdown, there's been a handover at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke is out, deputy secretary David Bernhardt is in, with a continuance of the Trump Administration policy of energy dominance.

KUER's Diane Maggipinto spoke with Nate Hegyi of KUER's Mountain West News Bureau to sort it out, starting with Zinke's wins and losses.

Wyoming Legislature

Wyoming House Minority Floor Leader Cathy Connolly urged members of the House of Representatives to support anti-discrimination legislation.

Trump Oval Office Address

Jan 8, 2019

President Trump is addressing the nation about border security tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 8). Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer will give a joint response immediately following. The government is partially shut down, with Trump in a stalemate with Democrats over funding for a wall along the southern border. Watch the remarks live at 7 p.m. MT.

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.

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