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Legislative Report: Chambers Recalibrate [AUDIO]

Wyo Legislature, Karen Snyder, K2 Radio
Wyo Legislature, Karen Snyder, K2 Radio

Two major education bills pass third reading today and a contractors preference bill is one step closer to becoming law. Amy Richards has more in Wednesday’s Legislative Report.

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

The house passed Senate File 144 the contractors preference bill on second reading today. The bill as it stands gives the governor the authority to modify the law by executive order, if he determines it is necessary to promote competitive bidding. House Speaker pro tem Rep. Keith Gingery unsuccessfully tried to remove that provision because he believes it violates the separation of powers.

Rep. Keith Gingery, why doesn’t like:

“If the bill’s not ready to go, then vote down the bill. If the bill has problems, find an amendment to the bill. But we don’t do bills and then say, hey, we’re not sure we worked this too well, so we’re just going to give the governor the power to overrule our law, or to change our law, as he sees fit. That’s not how the process works.”

That amendment failed. Rep. Rosie Berger co-chairman of the Joint Appropriations Committee says she thinks the bill will give the state time to study the issue.

Rep. Rosie Berger, temporary fix:

“Putting these guidelines in place, enforcing them, because that’s another important challenge is for the Labor Department to be able to actually enforce if there are situations that we have to investigate, looking at that and then seeing what are the outcomes.”

The bill must pass one more reading in the House.

The state House has approved a bill that would establish annual teacher evaluations that are based in part on student performance. Senate File 146 passed on a 52-4 vote today. The House version of the bill increases the probationary period for teachers from the current three years to four years before they are eligible for tenure.

The House also removed a provision that allowed districts to grant tenure at any time without regard to years in the classroom. The overall bill would require creation of standards for school districts and administrators to measure teacher performance annually and how to handle teachers who don’t meet the standards.

The bill heads back to the Senate for consideration of changes the House made.

The Senate passed House Bill 127 the school finance recalibration bill on third and final reading. Sen. Hank Coe, chairman of the Senate Education Committee says he thinks it’s a pretty good bill.

Sen. Hank Coe, funding parity:

“I am, particularly the amendment we put on today I thought was a really good amendment because it puts, it brings parity to how the money’s distributed to districts and it maintains the integrity of the common school permanent land fund.”

The bill goes back to the House to see if they agree with the Senate changes. House Bill 36 the cancer control act amendments bill, passed second reading in the Senate. Sen. Bill Landen says it is an important bill.

Sen. Bill Landen, cancer bill:

“I like the bill because it offers the opportunity for someone who needs to go back in for a re-test; we would allow them to do that, and I think that’s only right that we do that. That’s funded out of tobacco settlement money and I think it’s appropriate.”

Friday is the deadline for bills to be heard on committee of the whole in the second house, otherwise they are dead for the session.

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

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