The battle of the teacher tenure bill began on the floor of the Senate today. Amy Richards has more in Thursday's Legislative Report.

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

After a lengthy debate, the Senate gave initial approval to the teacher tenure bill Thursday. Casper Sen. Charlie Scott says the difficulty seems to be coming up with a way to evaluate teachers and provide them with due process.

Sen. Charlie Scott, SF 52:

"I think what people are looking for is an alternative that avoids the current legal system, because of its complications, but still gives the teacher a fair shake. And I don't know whether we'll find it or not."

Laramie Sen. Chris Rothfuss says he's not sure sf 52 as written is the proper approach to the issue of teacher accountability.

Sen. Chris Rothfuss, SF 52:

"It's the approach that really matters, and the approach that I want to take is I want to have better measurements. I want to have a better group of data that we're able to make these decisions based on, and then I think the process we have in place, with good data, is sufficient to get rid of the bad teachers."

The Senate laid back Senate Joint Resolution 1 on third and final reading. The bill sponsored by Sen. Larry Hicks would put before the voters a constitutional amendment that would protect the right to hunt, fish and trap in Wyoming.

The Senate passed a bill on second reading today that calls for a joint resolution to inform Congress about the seriousness of the bark beetle infestation in Wyoming and urging the feds to take action.

Sen. Stan Cooper:

"Be sure that they know of the concerns we have with this bark beetle situation here, how it's devastating our forests here, and that how for years we have a basic complaint that they've this wait-and-see issue. Well, we have waited and we have seen, and we've seen what it has done; it's destroyed; it's turned our nice green forests into red forests now."

The $667.3 million supplemental budget bill is now available for the public to review on the Wyoming Legislature’s Web site at

The bill, approved on Feb. 2 by the JAC, includes $215.3 million in new general fund (GF) spending, $196.4 million in federal funds, $183.4 million from the school capital construction account, and $72.2 million in other funds. Rep. Bryan Pederson says the bill contains money for local governments.

Rep. Bryan Pederson, local funding:

"The cities, towns and counties local money is a 35 million dollar distribution, and that's done by the county consensus block, and it's pulled out for capital construction only."

He says the bill also contains about 40 million for highways. Both chambers will begin working the budget on Monday, February 14th.

The House passed a bill on third and final reading a bill that would designate a Wyoming veterans highway. Rep. Dave Bonner says House Bill 139 would name the 23-mile stretch of Highway 14-a, between Powell and Cody, the Wyoming veterans memorial highway.

Rep. Dave Bonner, memorial highway:

"This would name the 23-mile stretch of brand new road between Powell and Cody--that's U.S. Highway 14a--as the Wyoming veterans memorial highway. The reason we're doing it is there is in place at Cody, already proclaimed, the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Park."

The bill now moves on to the Senate.

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