The number of jobs in Wyoming related to solar energy has increased by almost 600 percent in just over a year. That's according to a report from the Solar Foundation. The report shows that out of 340 solar-related jobs in the state, 290 of them were added since 2012.
Ten solar energy companies are operating in the state. But Bruce Parkinson with UW's School of Energy Resources says many of the installed systems are privately owned and off the grid.
Although the final attempt to expand Medicaid in Wyoming was defeated by the State Senate on Friday, a House budget amendment would direct the executive branch to work with the federal government to try and resolve the issue.
The Governor would ask for a waiver so that lawmakers might have another chance to vote on a specified Medicaid expansion program next year. Because there are federal funds involved, states must get approval from the feds in order to move forward with their own plans. Pinedale Republican Albert Sommers likes the idea.
The Wyoming House and Senate approved their versions of the state budget on Friday and will now work on reaching a compromise to send to the Governor. One of the entities that received a lot of attention was the University of Wyoming. Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout said that UW was treated well.
“We made some cuts, that’s what we do. But we gave some endowment money, we are moving ahead on a tier 1 Engineering College, we did the double-A, looking at the Corbett pools, we did that endowed chair for petroleum engineering.”
The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill allowing the legislature to work on a solution to the Supreme Court ruling that declared the removal of duties from Superintendent Cindy Hill unconstitutional.
The attorney general is appealing the ruling, but the bill would allow a group of legislators to address the constitutional issues raised by the court. Senator Curt Meier worried that language in the bill giving the legislative committee 90 days to find a solution could draw out the process. But Senate President Tony Ross says the goal is to move quickly.
The State Senate easily defeated a proposed budget amendment that would expand Medicaid Services in the state by a vote of 21 to 9. Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss says it’s a chance to bring health care to over 17 thousand people in the state. Senate Health and Labor Chairman Charles Scott continued his opposition to Medicaid expansion by saying that it will encourage people to over utilize health care. Rothfuss says his proposal actually would address that.
The Wyoming House and Senate finished up budget work today. Leaders in both bodies say they probably spent more than they should, but they are generally satisfied. Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout says they addressed some important needs including funding for public employee raises and the University of Wyoming. Bebout remains concerned about the future, but he says this budget is more encouraging than past ones.
Increasing volumes of coal and oil being shipped to the Pacific Northwest are putting pressure on rail capacity in the region, according a new report from the Western Organization of Resource Councils.
In an effort to reduce spending in the budget, the State Senate has cut in half the money available to school districts to increase public school teacher salaries. Teachers will get a pay hike in the first year of the biennium, but not the second.
Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout said that Wyoming teachers are the highest paid in the region. But Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss countered by saying Wyoming is losing purchasing power.
Wheatland is located on I-25, and travel/ tourism has long been an important industry in the area. During the summer months, thousands of boaters, campers, fishermen, and water skiers from Cheyenne, the panhandle of Nebraska and the Front Range of Colorado rely heavily on both Glendo State Park and Guernsey State Park as well as Grayrocks Reservoir for outdoor recreation, and Wheatland is an important refueling stop and shopping center for many of these outdoor enthusiasts. In addition, the Medicine Bow National Forest to the west provides many opportunities for hunters, campers, bikers,