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Legislative Report: Solons Strike Fed Health Reform [AUDIO]

Two bills dealing with how the state reacts to the federal health care reform passed their respective chambers Tuesday. Amy Richards has more in the Legislative Report.

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

The House passed HB 35 on third and final reading today (Tuesday) by a 44-14 vote. The bill retains the language that declares the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and therefore null and void.

A third reading amendment removed the criminal penalties that would have been leveled against any state or federal employee that implemented any part of the act in Wyoming. That bill moves on to the Senate.

The Senate, meanwhile, passed Senate Joint Resolution 2, which calls for a constitutional amendment that says the state cannot ration health care. Casper Sen. Charlie Scott explains what the bill doesn’t do.

Sen. Charlie Scott, SJ Res 2:

“Actually, it doesn’t speak really to insurance, anymore, as it passed the Senate. What it really does is say the government can’t ration your health care. You can always buy health care, that you think you need; government can’t ration it by telling you you can’t have it.”

That resolution moves on to the House.

House Bill 129 passed committee of the whole in the House today. (Tuesday.) That bill calls for a study of nuclear production in Wyoming. Rep. Steve Harshman says the issue needs to be studied if Wyoming is to remain a leader in the energy industry.

Rep. Steve Harshman, what are the possibilities:

“And I think the question is, really, what are the possibilities. We have the largest stores of uranium in the country. We know that moving forward in the next 100 years, even in the next 40 years, the United States energy demand is going to double, and then such global competition with China and India.”

Rep. Jeb Steward unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill. He says he is not against the bill, but he wants to see a more unbiased study done.

Rep. Jeb Steward, unbiased:

“Until we can crack that nut, as far as how we deal with the nuclear waste, on the national level, not just locally, a lot of our efforts will be frustrated.”

The House rejected HB 34 on a 22-37 committee of the whole vote today. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Del McComie, would have given local governments a bigger percentage of the state’s sales tax revenue.

McComie, during floor debate says the bill would provide a more reliable source of income for local governments.

Rep. Del McComie, sales tax dead:

“This effectively says the sales tax will kick-in in the next biennium, and any decisions made by the governor and or appropriations then could be based upon cities and counties getting 5 percent more of the sales tax, at that time.”

Rep. Bryan Pederson, a member of the Joint Appropriations Committee, opposed the bill. He says it is an issue that should be discussed during a budget session.

Rep. Bryan Pederson, don’t pass it:

“I think that it’s better that we take this on in a true budget session. Although this moves and would not be affected by that, I think it’s a policy decision that we need to make at that time.”

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

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