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Legislative Report: Amendments Sink And Swim [AUDIO]

One proposed constitutional amendment fails in committee, one advances out of the Senate. Amy Richards has more in Thursday’s Legislative Report.

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This Legislative Report is brought to you by Hilltop National Bank.

The Senate voted 20-to-10 on Thursday in favor of the resolution sponsored by Republican Sen. Curt Meier, of LaGrange. The resolution would ask voters to amend the State Constitution to specify that Wyoming wouldn’t recognize same-sex marriage. Sen. Meier says he was pleased with the vote.

Sen. Curt Meier:

“And so, the vote came out about where I thought it was. I thought we might’ve had 21 but a couple people had changed their minds back and forth, and I think fortunately for the voters of Wyoming it’s moving in the process and they may actually be able to provide that policy direction in our Constitution.”

Sen. Cale Case, who voted no, explains why.

Sen. Cale Case:

“Well, actually, I think this kind of sets a bad precedent for the Equality State. It’s not about us performing and legalizing the performance of marriages by same-sex couples. What it is about is recognizing the property rights and things that a same-sex couple might have if they were to be in Wyoming when something might happened where the courts have to come into play.”

The bill now goes to the House.

The Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee killed Senate Joint Resolution 4. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kit Jennings, would have called for a constitutional amendment that would have required elected officials to obtain no less than 3 hours of instruction on the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions. Jennings says he brought the bill at the request of his constituents.

Sen. Kit Jennings:

“People in my constituency were asking for this. And I think that the movement, and you can use all the nasty words they use back East on theses people and the movements that are out there, but I think they’re just movements. And I think it’s time that you put your elected official’s feet to the fire, and make sure what policy they are developing are constitutionally based.”

The Committee voted unanimously to defeat the bill.

The House Appropriations Committee voted today (Thursday) to reduce the amount in the health litigation fund in House Bill 39 from 2 million dollars to 500,000. Committee Chairman Rep. Rosie Berger says the Committee thought 500k was a good start.

Rep. Rosie Berger, litigation fund:

“So we think it’s a great start. It’s a supplemental budget and I think it’ll give a chance for the Executive Branch to review the different issues that are at hand, policy that will be developed through the session, and they can back in the regular budget for 13-14 and probably address this issue more clearly.”

Rep. Berger, co-chair of the Joint Appropriations Committee, says they anticipate both chambers will begin working the supplemental budget on February 14th.

Rep. Berger, new information:

“We’ll hope to have a budget prepared for everyone this coming Monday, no later than Tuesday, with the current information that the Joint Appropriations Committee has done to the budget, and they’ll get a good comparison to the recommendations made with Gov. Mead in mind and with the new information that we had acquired since November when Gov. Freudenthal made up the budget.”

With the Legislative Report, I’m Amy Richards for K2 Radio News.

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