Cody, WY – When the Wyoming Business Council decided not to spend any of a $3 Million air service enhancement fund it looked like a deal to start summer service between Cody and Denver was in trouble. But it appears those flights will happen, thanks in part to a bill passed this legislative session. House Bill 60 gives the State Aeronautics Commission some authority over the fund, and makes communities match the state's share. The Cody Yellowstone Air Service Organization will make an application under the new set-up.
Pinedale, WY – A significant number of deer and pronghorn have already died this winter in Western Wyoming. And the Wildlife Supervisor for the Game and Fish Department in Jackson and Pinedale, Bernie Holz, says more animals could meet the same fate. Holz says a harsh winter is partly to blame with some animal freezing to death. He adds that reduced amounts of food from years of drought conditions are finally taking their toll. Holz says they won't know for sure what percentage of the population died until this spring when they do a survey of deer and pronghorn.
Columbus, OH – It doesn't appear the failure of tort reform is to blame, but Wyoming's largest medical malpratice insurance carrier is leaving. OHIC Insurance Company will no longer write policies for doctors in the state after August. The pullout leaves just three companies providing medical malpractice coverge in Wyoming. The company says the decision was based on internal financial reasons and not because the Legislature voted against a proposed cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
Cheyenne – One of the goals of the legislative session was to pass some type of health care reform. But when the legislature ended its work Friday, only a couple of bills passed and the most controversial, a proposal to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, failed. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports only time will tell what this means.
Cheyenne, WY – The legislature was able to use the state's surplus to help economic development efforts according to a Cheyenne Representative. Pete Illoway says the most impact will come from a bill creating sale tax exemption for manufacturing equipment. Illoway thinks that tax break will generate jobs for the state. He says when trying to attract manufacturers Wyoming is now on par with other states. Illoway says increases to the Business Council's funding and funding for enhancing air travel will also help economic development in Wyoming.
Newcastle, WY – A newly re-started oil drilling project could provide Weston County with an economic shot in the arm. Operations on the LAK ranch east of Newcastle resumed last month after being shut down a couple years ago due to financial difficulties at the company behind the project, Derek Oil and Gas Corporation. Derek has teamed with Ivanhoe Energy to resurrect the development. Dave Spencer, the Northeast Director for the Wyoming Business Council, says this couldn't come at a better time for the county, which has suffered declining revenues for the last 15 years.
Cheyenne, Wy – A Cheyenne Representative says the legislators were able to use the surplus to benefit economic development, but Pete Illoway thinks a tax break will do a lot of good. The Governor signed a bill that provides a sales tax exemption for machinery. Illoway has worked on the bill for six years and he thinks it will finally help create jobs in Wyoming because it puts the state on par with our neighbors. He says Wyoming is now back in the manufacturing business.
Ft. Washakie, WY – A proposed on-line charter school in Fremont county could eventually serve high school students from across Wyoming. Fremont County District 21 Superintendent Karl Berlin says his district currently has no high school. He says the plan calls for serving at-risk students or whose who may have dropped out of his school district. Berlin says his district already has most of the technological infrastructure in place to handle the virtual school. He says there may be some additional costs, but it would be cheaper than constructing a building.
Cheyenne, Wy – By overwhelming margins, the House and Senate have approved the state budget -- which will cover the next two years of state government services. Governor Freudenthal proceded to sign the budget, vetoing two sections. The House and Senate chose to let them stand. The budget bill, combined with other measures, would increase immediate state General Fund spending by an estimated 125-million dollars. Spending for the next biennium would increase by about 280-(M)-million dollars over the current level.