Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming House will debate the restoration of gun rights in domestic violence cases. Senate file 64 would remove the record of someone convicted of a misdemeanor if they lose those gun rights. Senator Cale Case of Lander says people convicted of a domestic violence offense cannot get gun rights restored under the Brady Bill. His beill gives people an avenue to petition for the restoration of those rights. Wyoming Police Chiefs and Sheriff's lobbyist Byron Odekoven favors the bill because it requires someone to apply through the court.
Casper, WY – Wyoming Game and Fish officials have found a decline in the fish population in the "Miracle Mile" upstream from Pathfinder Reservoir. That six-mile stretch of the North Platte River is acclaimed as one of the world's best trout fisheries. Recent Game and Fish surveys found 60 percent fewer fish than in the mid to late 1990's. Casper Regional Fisheries Supervisor Al Conder says years of drought could have impacted the fishery as well as walleye predation from Pathfinder Reservoir.
Cheyenne, WY – Almost all of the top state officials took time to honor former governor Stan Hathaway Friday. They unveiled a plaque that will hang in the capitol and spoke about the impact Hathaway's had on the state. He was governor from 1967 to 1975. Among his accomplishments are the creation of the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund and Departments of Health, Environmental Quality, Recreation and Parks. Hathaway who is 79 attended the ceremony with his wife, children and grandchildren. After serving as Governor he also went on to be Secretary of US Department of Interior.
Cheyenne, WY – The state's wolf management law and the plan the Game and Fish Commission passed do not exactly match up and now they won't, at least for another year. The legislature was considering a bill to synch up the law and plan, but the chair of the Senate committee that needs to approve the proposal says it won't come up for a vote. Senator Delaine Roberts says House Bill 111 just is not needed, whether there's litigation or not.
Cheyenne, WY – A bill to help with brucellosis testing costs cleared the Wyoming Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday. Committee members changed direct compensation from five dollars a head to three dollars. They also removed 50 thousand dollars that would have paid for feed for those cattle that get quarantined. Senator John Hines says lawmakers were concerned about directly funding a business and whether that might set a precendent. He says coal-bed methane producers might seek state funding if their businesses are damaged by delays in permitting.
Cheyenne, WY – A bill that lifts sales taxes on new manufacturing equipment survived some final debate and passed in the Wyoming Senate Friday. House Bill 44 is being called a major tool for economic development and state officials say the lack of such an exemption has cost Wyoming business. But Senator Jayne Mockler of Cheyenne says the exemption will take too much revenue from the state. She says the litany of exemptions this creates weren't talked about. Senator Bob Peck countered that the sales tax may apply to existing businesses, but only to new equipment.
Cheyenne – A joint conference committee will meet and discuss the state budget Friday. While there are no hot button issues, there are plenty of differences between the State House and Senate. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports that the focus will be on Medicaid and how much to put into savings.
Cheyenne, WY – The Wyoming Senate Revenue Committee recommended passing a bill that would give more money to local government. House Bill 201 would raise the funding distribution formula for cities, towns and counties and fund them for four years. The bill includes 70 million dollars in funding, but the Senate has included 35 million in the budget. Interest in helping local government has increased this legislation session and Wyoming Association of Municipalities Director George Parks believes local officials have made the case for increased funding.
Cheyenne – Wyoming is staying on the list of those states that do not want to cap damages on medical malpractice cases. The House and Senate Wednesday failed to give the needed 2/3 support to bills that would have asked the voters to support a constitutional change, which would have allowed legislators to cap non-economic damages in such cases. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck reports the concept was supported by medical providers who are concerned about the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance.