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DAY AT THE WYOMING LEGISLATURE
Developments at the Wyoming Legislature
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Developments at the Wyoming Legislature on Tues., Feb. 25, the 12th day of the 2014 Budget Session:
BUDGET BILL: Both the House and Senate appointed members to serve on a conference committee that will meet probably later this week to consider differences in the budget bills passed by each house. Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and leader of the Senate negotiating team. He said Tuesday evening that no meeting had been set yet.
SAGE GROUSE: The Senate introduced a bill that would create a state sage grouse implementation team and assigned the bill to the Senate Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee. The bill, which already has passed the House, calls for the team members to work with federal agencies and make recommendations to the governor about how to enhance and restore sage grouse habitat. Wyoming officials are anxious to avert possible listing of sage grouse under the federal Threatened and Endangered Species Act, a move they say would crimp the state's mineral industry.
DOMESTIC ASSAULT AND BATTERY: The Wyoming Senate for the first time approved a bill that would establish the criminal offenses of domestic assault and domestic battery. The bill already has passed the Wyoming House.
UNLAWFUL ENTRY: The Senate for the first time approved a bill that would establish the criminal offense of unlawful entry into an occupied structure. The bill would make it a crime to enter into a building with the intent to commit a domestic battery against another person.
COMPUTER TRESPASSING: The Senate introduced a bill that already has passed the House that would establish the criminal offense of computer trespass. It would allow the owner of a computer to sue another person if they introduced information or material into the computer without permission and damaged it.
Senate approves special session bill
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Senate has passed a bill allowing for a special legislative session to deal with fallout from the recent state Supreme Court decision in the superintendent of public instruction case.
The Senate voted 18-12 Tuesday in favor of Senate File 106, which now goes to the state House for debate.
The bill includes $50,000 to fund the special session if it is needed.
The Supreme Court recently ruled 3-2 that a law enacted last year taking away many of the superintendent's duties was unconstitutional. However, the legal process is still unresolved. The Wyoming Attorney General's Office has asked the court to reconsider its decision.
In floor debate Tuesday, senators rejected several amendments, including one setting the date of a special session around April 21.
Wyo. Senate approves lending money to drug company
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Senate has approved a bill to establish a loan program that supporters say would let the state government move quickly to recruit large business ventures.
The Senate voted 26-to-4 on Tuesday to send the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Hank Coe of Cody to the House for its consideration.
Coe's bill started out as a carefully tailored effort to approve $25 million in state loans to Lannett Company, a New Jersey pharmaceutical firm that's weighing a possible expansion of its lab in Cody.
The bill was amended after some critics voiced concern the original version would violate a state constitutional prohibition against legislation to benefit a single entity.
As amended, the bill calls for state officials including the treasurer and the governor to vet large business loan applications.
Wyoming Senate approves Grand Teton land bill
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Senate has approved a bill that would authorize the trade of state lands within Grand Teton National Park to the federal government for unspecified lands elsewhere.
The Senate on Tuesday voted 18-to-12 to send a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Leland Christensen of Alta to the House.
The State Board of Land Commissioners recently endorsed the prospect of transferring ownership of 1,280 acres of state school trust land in Grand Teton National Park to the federal government.
The prospect of a land transfer grew out of the federal government's failure to meet a Jan. 5 deadline to buy one of the sections for $45 million as specified in a previous agreement.
Cheyenne man seeks Wyoming schools chief job
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A 58-year-old retired business executive from Cheyenne is seeking to become the next state superintendent of public instruction.
Democrat Mike Ceballos announced his candidacy Tuesday.
The superintendent is one of five statewide elected positions, including the governor, up for election this year. The job is now held by Republican Cindy Hill, who has announced she intends to run for governor.
The superintendent's job has been the subject of much controversy since Hill was elected in 2010.
Last year, the GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead enacted a law removing the state superintendent as head of the Wyoming Department of Education in favor of a director appointed by the governor.
However, the Wyoming Supreme Court recently ruled the law unconstitutional because it left the superintendent with too few duties.
Jackson prepares to celebrate centennial
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The town of Jackson is getting ready to celebrate its 100th birthday later this year.
Mayor Mark Barron has signed a proclamation declaring 2014 as Jackson's centennial year. A centennial committee is planning events that could include a party at the Snow King Hotel.
The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports Jackson residents voted on Sept. 21, 1914, to incorporate. The vote was 48-21.
John Mellencamp to play Cheyenne Frontier Days
(Information in the following story is from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com)
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - John Mellencamp will play at Cheyenne Frontier Days for the first time this summer.
Organizers announced Monday that Mellencamp will open the rodeo's night shows on July 18 as they revealed the rest of the headliners for the concert series.
Gary Allan and Florida Georgia Line will also play, joining previously announced acts including Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and Kid Rock.
Concert committee chairman Larry Kehl told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle that organizers have had requests for years to bring Mellencamp to Frontier Days. He's currently touring in support of a new 19-disc box set.
Tickets go on sale Friday.
DEEP JACKSON SNOW
Deepest snow in years at Jackson Hole ski resort
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The deepest snow in years is piling up at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
As of last weekend, snowpack at the Rendezvous Bowl was 121 inches. That was the most snow measured in the bowl at that time of year since 1997.
Records for the Rendezvous Bowl go back to 1975.
The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports Jackson Hole Mountain Resort got 20 inches of snowfall last weekend.
The heavy snow made for good skiing but also long lines at the resort.