AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

STATE OF THE STATE UPDATE

Gov. Matt Mead delivers State of the State speech

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Mead said in his State of the State address yesterday that Wyoming is in good financial shape and getting stronger.

If the state of Wyoming were a stock for sale on the open market, Mead said he couldn't think of a better investment.

The legislative session will last 20 days, and will focus on adopting a new state budget for the two-year fiscal period that starts July 1.

Mead's budget recommendation calls for $3.33 billion in state general funds, up just slightly from the $3.31 in his proposed budget two years ago. He urged lawmakers to increase support for local governments, provide pay raises for most state workers and boost funding for security in courtrooms and schools.

Mead also said the state is starting to lose workers as their benefits fail to keep pace with inflation.

SAME SEX MARRIAGE

Bill would allow same-sex marriage in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A Laramie lawmaker is pushing legislation to change state law to allow same-sex marriages.

Democratic Rep. Cathy Connolly's bill would rewrite the current definition of marriage as being a civil contract between a man and a woman. The bill would specify only that marriage is a civil contract between two people, without any mention of their sex.

Connolly is a lesbian and has pushed gay rights legislation for years. The House last year defeated bills she supported that would have permitted same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships.

Connolly's same-sex marriage bill will require a two-thirds vote in the House for introduction in the current budget session.

Connolly says she wants the state to be on the right side of history on the issue of equal rights for gays and lesbians.

SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT

Wyo. panel endorses special session bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A legislative panel is sponsoring a bill that could lead to a special legislative session to deal with fallout from the state Supreme Court decision in the superintendent of public instruction case.

Both houses of the Legislature must vote on allowing the bill to be introduced this session.

The state Supreme Court ruled 3-2 last week that a law enacted last year that took away many of the superintendent's duties was unconstitutional. The court said the Legislature went too far.

But lawmakers say they don't have time to deal with the matter during the current 20-day budget session.

The Legislature's Management Council endorsed a bill to study the superintendent's duties and make recommendations to the Legislature, which could then be called into special session.

MADER APPOINTMENT

Troy Mader replaces former Rep. Wallis in House

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - The Campbell County Commission has selected Troy Mader as the new representative for House District 52, replacing the late Rep. Sue Wallis.

The Gillette News Record reports that Mader plans to seek election in the Republican primary election in August. Legislative leaders said he will be sworn in today and begin serving in the Legislature immediately.

Wallis died in January at age 56.

Mader has served as a precinct representative for the Campbell County Republican Party.

He says his first priority for the current legislative session will be to make connections in the Legislature while learning the ropes.

Mader told the commission his priorities include maintaining the state's philosophy of saving, protecting the state against federal encroachment on environmental regulations and improving educational performance relative to state spending.

SKIERS RESCUED

Grand Teton rangers aid 3 lost skiers near resort

MOOSE, Wyo. (AP) - National park rangers in Grand Teton came to the aid of three skiers who were lost for more than 24 hours after they skied outside the boundary at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Park officials say the men weren't equipped for anything more than day skiing.

Grand Teton spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles says the skiers only intended to spend a short time outside the resort boundary Friday but got lost and skied into Granite Canyon.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports the men texted a friend. Park officials got word about the missing men Saturday morning but snowy weather prevented searchers from using a helicopter.

Four rangers skied into the canyon and found the men Saturday night. The skiers suffered no major harm and the rangers escorted them to safety.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Jackson man faces human trafficking charge

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A Jackson man accused of pocketing his workers' paychecks and forcing them to work for him under the threat of deportation is facing a felony human trafficking charge.

Prosecutors say Jose Marco Cesar Rosales Espinosa scammed both his employer and his employees while he was a supervisor at Standard Drywall. He is accused of falsifying time cards and forcing crew members to work for far less pay than they earned by using threats of deportation.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports Rosales Espinosa also faces a charge of obtaining property by false pretenses, which stems from his alleged practice of falsifying payroll records at the company.

GOVERNOR-HAYNES

Haynes latest Republican to run for Wyo. governor

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A physician from Cheyenne says people throughout Wyoming are pulling for him as he embarks on his campaign for governor.

Taylor Haynes is a Republican. Republican State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill also is running for governor, while Republican Gov. Matt Mead is hinting that he's going to seek re-election.

Haynes is 68 and retired from his practice as a surgeon in adult and pediatric urology. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports Haynes now owns Mountain Benefits Management Company, a third-party administrator of health benefits.

Haynes served on the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees for 12 years and got 14,000 write-in votes for governor in 2010. He announced his latest campaign Thursday.

His campaign platform includes looser regulation of business.

No Democrats are running for governor yet.

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