AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

MEDICAID EXPANSION

Senate committee won't vote Wednesday on Medicaid

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The chairman of a Wyoming legislative committee that that heard public testimony Wednesday in favor of a bill that would expand the Medicaid program said the committee won't vote on the matter Wednesday and likely wouldn't consider it Thursday, either.

Sen. Charles Scott, a Casper Republican, said he wouldn't call the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee back into session Wednesday because the full Senate was working into the evening.

Scott said he doubted he would call the committee into session to vote on the bill on Thursday, the last day for bills to be reported out of committee.

Scott said the bill sponsor, Democratic Sen. Chris Rothfuss of Laramie, could still bring push Medicaid expansion through an amendment to the general government appropriations bill this week.

ENZI INTERVIEW

Sen. Mike Enzi stands by no votes on debt limit

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Sen. Mike Enzi is standing by recent votes against raising the federal debt limit.

He says lawmakers and President Barack Obama need to have a plan to get federal spending and the national debt under control.

Enzi said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press that interest alone on the debt is on track to surpass current military spending. The Congressional Budget Office estimates such payments could reach $880 billion annually in 10 years.

Last week, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz sought to filibuster raising the debt limit. That meant the measure needed not a simple majority but at least 60 votes to move ahead.

Enzi and Cruz voted twice against raising the debt ceiling, even though not raising the limit could have shut down the federal government.

GUNS IN SCHOOLS

Senate panel Oks bill allowing armed teachers

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The state Senate Education Committee has endorsed a bill that would allow teachers to carry firearms in Wyoming schools.

As a result of Wednesday's action, Senate File 109 heads next to the Senate floor for more debate.

The proposal would allow school districts to decide whether they want teachers to be armed. If they do, the districts would create policies for training and other rules.

Supporters of the legislation say it would help remote, rural schools protect their students. Opponents say trained police officers are a better option.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that there's a similar bill in the House, but it would allow all school employees and volunteers to be armed.

SPEED LIMIT

House panel endorses 80 mph speed limit bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The state House Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee has advanced a bill that would allow 80 mph speed limits in Wyoming.

The panel approved the bill on a 7-2 vote Tuesday despite law enforcement concerns that an 80 mph limit could make the roads more dangerous.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports that the bill now goes to the full House for debate.

The proposal requires the Wyoming Department of Transportation to study what sections of the highway system could handle the increased speed limit safely.

Col. John Butler, who heads the Wyoming Highway Patrol, expressed concern for the safety of his troopers who are on the highways for traffic stops, crashes or other emergencies when the speeds are increased.

AVALANCHE DEATH-SNOWMOBILER

Wyoming avalanche kills Iowa snowmobiler

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A 26-year-old Iowa man died when an avalanche swept his snowmobile into a tree in northwest Wyoming.

Teton County Undersheriff Bob Gilliam says Tyler Tourlett, of Osage, was buried by the avalanche near the Togwotee Mountain Lodge on Tuesday.

Gilliam tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that responders, including a doctor flown from Jackson, tried to revive Tourlett for half an hour before the doctor pronounced him dead.

He says the avalanche occurred when Tourlett's sled got stuck in the snow and a friend circled behind him to try to help out. The friend was able to avoid the slide.

Tuesday's avalanche risk was rated "considerable" for elevations above 7,500 feet.

It was the second avalanche death in Wyoming this winter. There have been 16 nationwide.

CARBON MONOXIDE DEATHS

Officials: Carbon monoxide kills Utah father, son

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) - A Wyoming sheriff's department says carbon monoxide poisoning has killed a Utah father and son who were camping at Flaming Gorge.

Sweetwater County sheriff's Col. Rick Hawkins tells The Salt Lake Tribune that 58-year-old Steven McConnell and his 17-year-old son Matthew of Stansbury Park were found unresponsive by companions who tried to wake them around 9 a.m. Monday. Emergency responders confirmed the deaths.

The department says the source of the toxic gas is apparently a lit propane heater found inside the ice-fishing hut the two slept in.

The father and son were camping with a group over the weekend in the Big Firehole area.

Laurie McConnell says her father and brother were longtime sportsmen and that her father was always careful.

Hawkins says no foul play is suspected.

TOURISM

Wyo. tourism grows in 2013

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Preliminary figures show that Wyoming's tourism industry attracted 4.6 percent more visitors in 2013.

The number of visitors to the state increased from 8.67 million people in 2012 to 9.07 million people in 2013. This follows strong growth in the past three years, with total visitor volume increasing over 20 percent since 2009, which is twice that of the national average.

Reports prepared by marketing and research firms indicate that the local and state tax revenues generated from travel rose 11.4 percent in 2013 from the previous year to $143 million.

The hospitality and tourism industry accounts for nearly 31,000 full and part time jobs in Wyoming.

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