Archives for January 2017

Wyoming’s gun restrictions have won preliminary approval in the state House

Several bills to loosen Wyoming’s gun restrictions have won preliminary approval in the state House.

Representatives on Monday advanced bills that would allow people to carry guns on college campuses and in government meetings and allow school districts to decide whether to arm some school staff.

House Bills 136, 137 and 194 face two more votes on the House floor before they can go to the Senate for additional debate.

House Education Committee had full house at Cheyenne East High School

Higher sales tax, a shorter school year and other solutions. Those were the ideas tossed around at a meeting on Wyoming’s education crisis.
The House Education Committee had a full house at Cheyenne East High School.

Wyoming faces a $360 million shortfall amid declining state revenue in the coal, oil and natural gas industries.

Proposals in a bill before the House include raising the state sales tax from 4 to 4.5% , shortening the school year by five days and freezing special-education funding. The bill also proposes establishing a special committee to exam the problem.

Tourism Conference This Week

In 2016, Wyoming’s tourist industry generated more than 100 million dollars in tax revenue. Tourism officials are hoping to continue that trend in 2017. Toward that end, the Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism is taking place in Cheyenne this week.

WY Coal Production Down

For the first time since 1998, the Wyoming coal industry has produced less than 300 million tons. According to the Gillette News Record, the Powder River Basin produced just over 285 million tons of coal in 2016. That’s 78 million tons less than the year before, the industry’s largest decline from one year to the next.

WY Gas Prices Falling

Thanks to increased U.S. production of crude oil and lower demand for gasoline, average prices at the pump have dropped nationwide for 21 days in a row. There’s a similar trend in Wyoming, where the statewide average for a gallon of regular is two-20, down two cents from a week ago. In Cheyenne, regular averages two-13, down three cents. In Casper, the average is two-06, also down three cents. But prices are likely to go back up in February as refinery maintenance season begins.

WY Last in Job Creation

In 2008, Wyoming came out on top of the Gallup Poll’s first Job Creation Index. In 2016, it came in last. Gallup found that 71 percent of Wyoming employees say there workplaces are either reducing their workforce or making no changes. Only 23 percent say the workforce is growing. Nevada topped the 2016 Job Creation Index, followed by Utah, Georgia, Michigan and Minnesota.

Voter Will Need to Show ID if Bill Gets Passed

State voters would need to show photo identification at the polls if House Bill 167 is passed.

Currently, registered voters do not need to provide id in order to vote.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Lars Lone, of Cheyenne, does not specify what forms would be accepted for voting other than “a current, valid photo identification.”

Laid Off Miners May Get Gov Funds for Retraining

More than 100 coal miners who have been laid off in Wyoming may be eligible to receive federal grant money for retraining.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported that the U.S. Department of Labor recently approved up to $2 million for retraining Wyoming workers in seven counties.

A State Department of Workforce Services spokesperson Hayley sayid the federal funds are intended to help around 140 laid off coal workers who have failed to secure new employment or are underemployed.

She says each worker will be eligible for around $6,500 to be used on classes, certifications and training to increase workers’ skill sets.

Food Service Sponsors Needed

The Wyoming Department of Education’s summer food service program is in need of sponsors. The federally -funded program provides nutritious meals and snacks to children in low-income areas during the summer months to combat hunger and poor nutrition. For more information, contact Amanda Anderson at the Department of Education.

Poinsettia Bowl Discontinued

It turns out that the University of Wyoming football team played in the last-ever Poinsettia Bowl. The San Diego Bowl Game Association announced Wednesday that the Poinsettia Bowl is being discontinued. Wyoming lost to BYU in that final game last month.