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Legislative Report: Compromise Teases Budget [AUDIO]

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

Contractors preference bill passes House and there is a compromise on the budget. 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 contractors preference bill passed third reading in the House today (Thursday). Rep. Lorraine Quarberg voted against Senate File 144, because she’s not comfortable with a provision that would allow the governor to change the law.

Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, no vote because:

“This was not a budget footnote; this was a piece of legislation that we were going to pass. And so I really felt strongly that this was a huge policy decision–that both houses were beginning to make, was to allow a governor to change statute. And I don’t think it’s a good one, so I was a no vote.”

House Speaker pro tem, Rep. Keith Gingery tried to amend the bill to exempt local and county governments from the law. That amendment failed. House Minority Whip, Rep. Mary Throne says she thinks the bill as is, will be good for the state.

Rep. Mary Throne, good it failed:

“I think it’s good that it failed. Obviously, a lot of our public projects are actually done through local governments, so if we exempted that group of people, it would limit the scope of the bill quite a bit.”

The bill must go back to the Senate to see if they concur on the changes made by the House.

The idea of possibly paying local school board members around the state for their service doesn’t sit well with most members of the House. The House voted 29-27 on Thursday to remove from an education reform bill a provision to study whether school board trustees should be compensated. With the change, the study would only look at whether trustees should receive training.

There is a compromise on the supplemental budget.

Rep. Sue Wallis, budget compromise:

“House moved a little further than the Senate, but we got most of the important things that we were really concerned about.”

Budget conferee, Rep. Sue Wallis says the Conference Committee adopted the House position on how to distribute the extra 10 million dollars in the budget for local governments. The compromise also contains 1 million for rural fire departments in counties impacted by the Niobrara oil shale play. Joint Appropriations Committee Co-Chairman Rep. Rosie Berger says their plan is to deliver the budget to Gov. Mead by Saturday. Once the governor receives the budget bill, he will have three days to act on it.

The Senate passed a bill on second reading that would eliminate the right of those suspected of drunk driving to refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test.Laramie County Sheriff Danny Glick says, if passed the bill would provide another tool for law enforcement to combat drunk driving.

Laramie County Sheriff Danny Glick, HB 29:

“We may have to come back and tweak it, but I think as an overall this is going to affect what we need to affect and that’s the intoxicated driver.”

House Bill 29 must still pass one more reading in the Senate.

As the session winds down, lawmakers have still not come up with a solution to an issue many lawmakers talked about at the beginning of the session, finding a steady funding stream for local governments. Senate Minority Whip, Sen. Marty Martin says it’s a question that doesn’t seem to have an answer, yet.

Sen. Marty Martin, answer eludes:

“I was on the local government funding select committee, or task force–I can’t even remember what it was–a few years ago. And we actually worked for two years and didn’t come up with a thing, so if a small group of people struggled to do that, you can imagine what difficulty it would be for the whole Legislature.”

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

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