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Legislative Report: Lottery Plays The Odds [AUDIO]

Lawmakers considered bills dealing with open meetings, open records, charter schools and a lottery for Wyoming. Amy Richards has more in Friday’s Legislative Report.

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

A bill that says people in Wyoming have no duty to retreat before defending themselves passed second reading in the House today (Friday). The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lorraine Quarberg, says Wyoming courts have already established the people’s right to self-defense, but the Legislature needs to spell it out in state statute.

Rep. Lorraine Quarberg:

“Today there is the statute silent; there is nothing in the statute that deals with self, that you have the right to defend yourself, for that you have no duty. The statutes are silent, so that’s my reason for bringing this.”

Two bills that would enhance Wyoming’s open records and meetings laws passed second reading in the House today as well. Rep. Amy Edmonds says House Bill 121 requires that open records requests be answered within seven working days.

Rep. Amy Edmonds:

“So when you go into a government agency and you ask for a record, we’re actually saying that the agency needs to give you some sort of response within three to seven days. If it’s a large request, then there is some latitude for our government agencies to be able to say we need more time.”

Edmonds says House Bill 120 would require elected officials to give 12-hour notice for emergency meetings and would require elected officials to record executive sessions.

Those bills will be on third reading on Monday.

The full House will consider a bill that would establish a lottery in Wyoming. House Bill 186 passed out of committee Thursday. Mike Mosier, with the Wyoming State Liquor Association says he thinks the bill has a good chance to pass this time.

Mike Mosier:

“Before there were things like video lottery terminals horse race track, stuff like this. This is a very clean lottery bill that just does a multistate powerball on a Wyoming lottery, no scratch tickets. We have a Legislative Services Office study that show it’ll make somewhere between 20 to 40 million dollars a year, judging from the other states around us, which’ll turn around eight to ten million dollars in profit.”

The House of Representatives has approved a bill that would lessen restrictions on efforts to start a public charter school. But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sue Wallis says changes made on the House floor watered down House Bill 52 too much.

Rep. Sue Wallis:

“My hope is that the Senate will look at this a little differently and consider putting at least some of these back in, particularly that local … the closing the schools consolidation one, because that’s the one that really has damaged communities, and is threatening to damage communities in Wyoming right now.”

That bill heads to the Senate for debate.

The Senate gave initial approval Friday to Senate Joint Resolution 2 which calls for an amendment to the State Constitution that says Wyoming residents have the right to access to health care. The bill’s sponsor, Cheyenne Sen. Leslie Nutting, says she is concerned about some of the amendments to the bill.

Sen. Leslie Nutting:

“It says that people will have the right to access health care. However, the language that fought back against the mandates in the federal legislation is now missing; a lot of the descriptive information is now missing, and the amendment itself fails to fully protect the people of Wyoming.”

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

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