CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Developments on the third day of the Budget Session of the 2012 Wyoming Legislature, Wed., Feb. 15, 2012 including the budget, redistricting, and education.
BUDGET: The Joint Appropriations Committee approved a $3.2-billion budget bill. Lower natural gas prices over the past two months have forced lawmakers and Gov. Matt Mead to propose less spending than the $3.4 billion budget he proposed in early December. The bill the committee approved has no pay raises for state employees and includes language directing state agencies to prepare for budget cuts of up to 8 percent over the next two years. The full Legislature must still act on the bill.
REDISTRICTING: The House gave preliminary approval to a legislative redistricting bill, House Bill 32. It endorsed an amendment that the House Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee had approved on Tuesday that would allow Sen. Curt Meier, R-LaGrange, to keep his Senate seat. The amendment extended one of the two House districts that comprise Meier's district more than 40 miles north to include the medium-security prison east of Torrington.
EDUCATION: A bill was introduced in the House that would start the process of making the state superintendent of public instruction a position appointed by the governor. The superintendent's post is currently elected by voters statewide. House Joint Resolution 11 would allow voters to consider amending the Wyoming Constitution to make the change and could result in making the position an appointed post by early 2015.
FIREARMS: The House voted not to consider a bill, HB 60, that would have specified that the state, not local governments, can regulate the sale or use of guns and ammunition.