Laramie, Wyo – The state senate has killed a bill that would have given rights to landowners whose property is flooded or otherwise impacted by water from coal bed methane development.
The controversial bill died on a tie vote, following a lengthy debate. The bill had been heavily amended and Senator Charles Scott of Casper was among those who feared that it tipped the balance too favorably towards landowners.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming could be among the states that allow inmates to take DNA tests to prove their innocence.
The state senate gave preliminary approval to the bill and it will be heard two more times. Senator Tony Ross presented the bill and sees it as a benefit to inmates as well as police.
Senators eliminated a part of the bill that would have allowed law enforcement to take the DNA who are not yet named suspects in the crime. Law enforcement wanted that part of the law, so they could narrow a list of suspects.
Cheyenne, WY – The House gave preliminary approval to the bill that would tax oil and gas companies for helium extraction on Thursday. The taxes would bring in more than $2 million in annual tax revenue. Ed Schmidt is director of the Wyoming Department of Revenue. He says extraction of the helium should be taxed by the state. He says it is the only mineral commodity Wyoming does not currently tax. The bill would allow the state to tax helium extracted from the ground the same rate as other Wyoming minerals.
Laramie, WY – While several conservation groups have voiced opposition to yesterday's wolf delisting, at least one group is supporting the change.
The Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a conservation group based in Bozeman, Montana, says the removal of the wolf from the endangered species list is a step forward. Coalition chairman Todd Graham says it was time to switch from federal protection to local management.
Cheyenne, WY – Look for city and county funding to be a big part of discussions when a compromise budget is discussed next week.
Senators and Representatives on the budget conference committee will pick up where they left off on debate this week.
Speaker of the House Roy Cohee says that he thinks that the state may have gone too far in trying to provide extra funding for local government. Cohee says this is especially true for areas that may not be benefiting from the energy boom.