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Legislative Report: Chambers Finish Bills [AUDIO]

Wyoming Capitol dome, Karen Snyder, K2 Radio
Wyoming Capitol dome, Karen Snyder, K2 Radio

Both the House and Senate completed work on all the bills of the session today. Amy Richards has more in Tuesday’s Legislative Report.

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

After a lengthy debate, the House passed SF 139, the health care pilot project amendments bill, on third and final reading today (Tuesday). During debate Rep. Kendell Kroeker said he opposed the bill because he believes it’s another entitlement program.

Rep. Kendell Kroeker, entitlements grow:

“I would just challenge anybody to point out any government program that’s ever started out as an entitlement program that didn’t get bigger, that didn’t get more expensive, that didn’t grow. We have a chance to get rid of a bad program before it gets worse.”

Rep. Cathy Connolly said it wasn’t an entitlement program, but a Wyoming solution to a Wyoming problem.

Rep. Cathy Connolly, solution:

“It’s been done slowly, carefully and thoroughly. It’s a pilot project that we can examine and decide whether to continue or to stop, and so I would encourage you that this is exactly, exactly what we need to be doing in order to solve, not only this problem, but other problems, in my mind.”

The Senate agreed to accept the changes to the bill made by the House.

It’s been a long session according to many lawmakers. Sen. Bill Landen says he thinks it’s been an interesting but emotional session, filled with a lot of difficult issues. Landen says he believes education issues were front and center though and will continue to be as the Legislature continues to struggle with education accountability.

Sen. Bill Landen, education is:

“I was proud of the work the Health and Labor Committee did during the interim, brought some bills that I think will help in the Medicaid area. We’re going to study Medicaid; we’ve got to do that. I do like some of the conversations we’ve had about education, and those of the two bigs, I think.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Drew Perkins says lawmakers will continue to build on the education issues brought out this session.

Sen. Drew Perkins, ed forward:

“Going forward there’s a model there to develop, I think, a really solid model of objective evidence of how we’re doing in our schools, not just our teachers, but our students, our districts, our principals, so we can have an objective criteria to see how our education is doing and make sure that educating our children remains the best it can be and continues to improve in Wyoming.”

Freshman Sen. Fred Emerich says the session has been a tremendous learning experience. He says there were a lot of bills that died and some of those bills should have.

Sen. Fred Emerich, solutions looking for problems:

“I think we had a tremendous amount of solutions looking for problems and I think that’s common. Sausage and politics, messy, but it’s supposed to be that way. You don’t want to write something that goes into the green books that’s not well thought.”

The Joint Conference Committee on House Bill 74, the validity of marriage bill has reached a compromise. By a 4-2 vote, the committee narrowed House Bill 74 to only invalidate same-sex marriages from other states and countries. However, the conference committee took out all language dealing with civil unions and court access. The changes must now be approved by the House, then the Senate.

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

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