AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

BUDGET BILL

House and Senate conferees agree on pay raises

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Negotiating teams from the Wyoming House and Senate agreed on pay raises for state employees but postponed consideration of whether the state should study possible expansion of the state Medicaid program.

Teams from the House and Senate met at the State Capitol in Cheyenne Wednesday evening to resolve differences in their respective amendments to the budget bill.

They agreed to give executive branch state employees pay raises of roughly 2.4 percent each year of the coming two-year funding cycle. The package would cost nearly $40 million.

They agreed to give school employees lesser raises while requiring them to start paying to help cover the cost of their state retirement.

The conference committee plans to meet Thursday morning whether to investigate possible expansion of the state Medicaid system.

SCHOOL SAFETY

Senate panel advances school bus camera bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Senate Appropriations Committee has advanced a bill that would require school buses have cameras to catch motorists who illegally pass buses stopped to pick up and drop off students.

However, the committee voted Wednesday to strip the bill of its $5 million appropriation to help school districts pay for the cameras.

House Bill 5 now heads to the Senate floor for further debate.

Supporters of the bill say it would help reduce the thousands of incidents each year where motorists illegally pass a stopped school bus.

Opponents say object to the idea of using cameras to catch perpetrators and favor a public education campaign instead.

SPECIAL SESSION

House panel advances special session bill

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The House Education Committee has advanced a bill that would allow for a special legislative session to deal with fallout from the recent state Supreme Court decision in the superintendent of public instruction case.

The committee endorsed Senate File 106 on a 7-2 vote Wednesday night. It still needs to be debated by the full House.

The Supreme Court recently ruled 3-2 that a law enacted last year taking away many of the superintendent's duties was unconstitutional. The state attorney general has asked the court to reconsider its decision.

Under the bill, a special interim committee would hear public testimony and come up with a recommendation for a possible special legislative session to consider.

The House committee changed the bill to increase the size of the committee to 27 members.

MUG SHOTS

Bill would ban charging for removing jail photos

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A bill to outlaw the practice of companies charging people who have been arrested to have their arrest photos removed from the Internet is moving forward in the Wyoming Legislature even as some lawmakers question how the state could enforce it.

The House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday recommended passage of the bill. It's already passed the Senate and now heads to the House floor.

Committee member Rep. Michael Greear, a Worland Republican, questioned how Wyoming could regulate companies based out of state.

Committee Chairman Tom Lockhart, a Casper Republican, said Wyoming's effort would fit together with other states' bans.

Georgia and Utah have passed laws addressing the issue and Colorado is considering a similar measure.

HATHAWAY SCHOLARSHIP

Wyoming House increases Hathaway Scholarship award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming House has agreed to increase the Hathaway Scholarship award by 10 percent.

When Senate File 55 left the Senate, it had a 5 percent increase.

Supporters of the higher amount say the scholarship fund can handle the 10 percent increase.

The idea behind increasing the award is to keep pace with rising college tuition and fees.

The Hathaway Scholarship award has not been increased since it was first started in 2006.

The bill faces two more debates on the House floor.

Representatives also gave initial approval to a separate bill that allows Hathaway Scholarship money to pay for summer and winter break courses.

The scholarship is awarded to Wyoming residents based on their academic performance.

SCHOOL ENROLLMENT

Wyoming K-12 enrollment up again this year

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Department of Education says there are 92,218 students enrolled in the state's K-12 public schools this year.

That is up from last year's 90,993.

Enrollment has been increasing over the last eight years.

Leslie Zimmerschied, of the Education Department, says enrollment has been increasing especially in the lower grades.

The kindergarten class has reached a record 8,141 students this year.

Laramie County School District 1 remains the state's largest district with more than 13,600 students, followed by Natrona County District 1 with about 12,800, Campbell County 1 with about 8,800, Sweetwater 1 with about 5,600 and Albany 1 with nearly 3,800.

Washakie County District 2 is the smallest in the state with 94 students, followed by Sheridan County 3 with 96 and Park County 16 with 112.

WYOMING WEATHER

Cheyenne sets new snowfall record with 4.9 inches

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The latest round of snowfall in Cheyenne has set a new record.

The National Weather Service says the city got 4.9 inches of snow on Tuesday, breaking the previous record of 4.8 inches for that day set in 1962.

Cheyenne is one city in the midst of one of its top 10 harshest winters according to a winter extremity index created by the National Weather Service. The index is based on cold temperatures and snowfall. Other cities experiencing one of their worst winters include Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota and Louisville, Ky.

The Weather Service says more significant snowfall accumulations are possible in southeastern Wyoming between Friday night and Saturday morning.

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