Pinedale, Wy – A legislative committee will go forward with a plan to set up a Wildlife Habitat fund. The committee looked at three bills, including one by the Governor and will try and meld the three together. House Recreation, Parks and Natural Resources Chairman Mike Baker says it is something that has been tried in the past and seems to be gaining momentum this year.
Laramie, Wy – The U-S Department of Justice has released figures showing that the number of people in Wyoming prisons increased by nearly eight percent in 2003. The actual increase in the number of prisoners is up by almost 150.
Cheyenne, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal believes the legislature revisit the idea of a Rainy Day Account. Lawmakers formed such an account during the revenue boom of the 1970's. Freudenthal says such a fund makes more sense then putting money into the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund. He says that fund has $270-300 Million going into it by viture of how the state consitution works. Freudenthal thinks the good revenue times will eventually end and the state should have a fund to draw on then for needed operating revenue.
Pinedale, WY – Sublette County's natural gas boom has kept motels in Pinedale busy. Motels that used to have year-round occupancy rates of around 50% are now enjoying rates of 90% or more. The prices for those rooms are also going up. $65 to $100 a night at the Rivera Lodge cabins, for example. The current motel situation may not be sustainable, though. Soon, many gas workers are likely to be living in "man camps" that are slated to go up around the area. One camp is expected to have 102 beds after the first phase and 106 after the second.
Cheyenne, WY – 21% of laborers in Wyoming last year came from outside of the state. In the early 90's that figure was about 18.5%. Tom Gallagher manages the Research and Planning Section at the state Employment Department. He says companies look out of state for workers when a large number of people who can work are working, when unemployment is low, and when the job market is growing. Nonresident employees in Wyoming often work in construction, tourism and oil and gas.
Torrington, WY – A Jackson hunter is pushing for restrictions on transporting parts of deer and elk carcasses from areas known to have chronic wasting disease. Shane Moore asked the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission Friday in Torrington to consider regulations that would require hunters to leave behind infectious materials, like the brain and spine. Moore does not believe the Game and Fish is doing enough to slow the spread of CWD. And he says a recent study shows the disease can be transmitted through carcasses and he thinks the agency should exercise caution because of that.
Torrington, WY – A new proposal is out that talks about how grizzly bears will be managed in specific portions of western Wyoming after delisting. Concerns were raised about the grizzly management plan adopted in 2002 and exactly what will happen inside the boundary that was established then. This new plan marks off the area where grizzly presence is biologically suitable and socially acceptable. John Emmerich with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says he thinks it's a good compromise.
Laramie, Wy – Three counties in Wyoming approved sales tax increases during this week's general election. Taxes were passed in Crook, Goshen and Washakie counties. They paid for such projects as water and street improvements, new buildings and additions to existing ones. However, similar tax proposals were defeated in Campbell, Natrona and Fremont counties.