After defeating a series of Medicaid expansion bills earlier this week, the Wyoming Senate voted to introduce a compromise measure.
Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss is the sponsor. The bill would enable the state to expand Medicaid for one year, during which time it could ask the federal government for the ability to devise its own expansion plan for the next three years.
The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would require each teacher and school administrator to undergo eight hours of suicide training every four years. Wyoming has one of the nation’s highest rates of suicide, and Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe says they want school officials to look for possible signs in an effort to prevent suicide.
“It is a serious problem," Coe said. "If we can go out with something like this and recognize a couple of…I mean just one…prevent one and its worthwhile.
For over a decade the state has struggled with making sure all citizens had access to health care. Much of this had to do with the fact that many Wyoming citizens can’t afford health insurance. The federal affordable care act was supposed to help.
There’s a fight brewing in Wyoming over the rights of landowners who don’t own the minerals below their properties. In 2005, the legislature passed a Split Estate law, but now, one lawmaker is saying it may be time to revisit the issue, in light of changes in drilling technology and intensity.
Senator Jim Anderson introduced a bill this week that would increase bonding on split-estate properties. Wyoming Public Radio energy reporter Stephanie Joyce joins us to discuss the bill, and its implications.
The National Park Service named a new superintendent for Grand Teton National Park this week. David Vela will replace former superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, who retired last year.
Vela is currently an associate director for the Park Service in Washington DC. He has worked at parks and historic sites in Texas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and directed the Park Service’s southeast region for four years. He says one of his goals is to listen to visitor feedback.
Author Ben Kilham has studied black bears for decades and has also raised orphan bear cubs. His new book is called “Out on a Limb: What Black Bears Have Taught Me about Intelligence and Intuition.” He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck, and said his interest in bears came by accident.
Marion Loomis has been with the Wyoming Mining Association, one of the state’s most influential interest groups, for almost 40 years. Earlier this week, he announced that he would be retiring that post in April. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce caught up with Loomis at the Capitol to discuss his career and what the future holds for the state’s mining industry.
The Wyoming House of Representatives failed to introduce the second of two committee-sponsored Medicaid Expansion bills, essentially ending the chance that lawmakers will approve an expansion this session.
The bill was based on the Medicaid fit program that was created by the Wyoming Department of Health. Cheyenne Republican Sue Wilson urged the House to debate it.
The Wyoming House of Representatives failed to introduce a bill that would have lifted restrictions on carrying guns in school zones, while agreeing to introduce another bill that would leave it up to school districts to decide whether employees with a concealed carry permit can have guns in schools.
The Wyoming Senate reconsidered and passed a bill that would set up a special committee to review the recent Supreme Court decision about Superintendent Cindy Hill.
The court ruled that removing Hill's responsibility to run the Department of Education was unconstitutional. The committee would be tasked with coming up with legislation to respond to the ruling, possibly in a special legislative session.
The Senate at first rejected the bill, but reconsidered after lunch and passed it. Senator Chris Rothfuss says that some education took place during the lunch break.
The spread of mountain pine beetles is slowing in Wyoming, according to a survey from the U.S. Forest Service.
Beetles killed 180,000 new acres of trees in 2012, but only 82,000 acres in 2013.
The Forest Service’s Aaron Voos says it’s not surprising.
“They’ve kind of eaten themselves out of house and home,” Voos said. “All of the trees that were susceptible to attack … have been either eaten and are now dead and dying, or they were able to fend off the epidemic and have developed some sort of resiliency.”
A bill that many people called the most important education measure this session has died after failing to get the necessary two thirds support for introduction in the Wyoming House of Representatives.
The bill would have empowered the Wyoming Department of Education to coordinate early childhood learning in the state and would have made money available to help enhance pre-school and day care programs in the state. But state involvement in the program made many nervous, including House Education Committee Chairman Matt Teeters who's committee studied the issue last year.
The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has formalized a public art policy that's been informally in effect since 2012. The policy creates the President’s Public Art Committee, which is made up of five members from art and non-art departments on campus. The Committee is responsible for reviewing art works proposed for installation on and around campus, and providing recommendations. The UW President, in consultation with the President of the Trustees makes the final call.
A plan to expand Medicaid for Wyoming’s Native American population has failed in the Wyoming House of Representatives.
A proposed bill would have allowed the state to go ahead with a demonstration program that was intended to help improve the health care of Native Americans.
Democrat Patrick Goggles of Fort Washakie was disappointed that the bill failed to get the 40 votes needed for it to move forward. But Goggles adds that 32 people voted for it which tells him that it could pass in the future.
A bill that would use federal money to help poor people buy insurance was soundly defeated in the Wyoming Senate.
The so-called Arkansas Plan would use federal Medicaid expansion money to help those who need insurance to buy it through the state. Instead of people being on Medicaid, they would have actual insurance.
The Senate Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee recommended passing the bill last month, but Senator Charles Scott who chairs the committee voted against the bill because he says it's a long way from being workable for Wyoming.
Wyoming singer-songwriter Doug Balmain blends genres from Americana, rock, blues, to red dirt country. With a personal fusion of styles and honest lyrics, Doug performs his tune "Home" at the Wyoming Public Media studios.
Along with much of the country, Wyoming has seen a dramatic spike in propane prices over the last six months, but industry observers say it should be short-lived. Baron Glassgow is executive director of the Rocky Mountain Propane Association.
“You know, in the U-S, we’re actually making more propane than we ever have before. So it’s not like we have a shortage of production. It’s just a combination of factors this year that have been kind of like the perfect storm,” Glassgow says.
The National Park Service has picked a new superintendent for Grand Teton National Park. David Vela will replace former Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, who retired in November.
Vela is currently an associate director for the Park Service in Washington D.C. and has overseen several other parks and historic sites. He also served as director of the National Park Service’s southeast region.
Vela says he will place a major emphasis on working with park employees and the community.
Grammy-award winning jazz group, the Yellowjackets, will perform with the University of Wyoming Jazz Ensemble Thursday night. The Yellowjackets will also conduct workshops with UW musicians. UW Jazz Ensemble director Scott Turpen says the Yellowjackets’ visit is part of the music department’s Eminent Artist-in-Residence program.
Efforts to raise the state minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to nine dollars an hour failed to gain traction in the Wyoming House of Representatives. They voted down the bill Tuesday, 51 to 9. The wage mainly impacts service workers.
Cheyenne Democrat Jim Byrd was the sponsor. He said that he was attempting to help people earn a living wage. He also said that it wouldn’t hurt business owners, but it would help the local economy.