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Legislative Report: Wind Energy Breezes Floor [AUDIO]

Teacher tenure, wind energy and the defense of marriage constitutional amendment were just some of the issues facing the Legislature Wednesday. Amy Richards has more in today’s Legislative Report.

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

The Senate Education Committee passed SF 52, which would eliminate Wyoming’s form of teacher tenure on a 3-2 vote. Sen. Bill Landen says he voted for the bill but has reservations.

Sen. Bill Landen:

“I’m still not certain that this bill is the answer for accountability, and performance major, all the issues that we talked about this past couple of weeks, so I have reserved the right to listen to my district, to talk to some professionals in the education fields back home, and we’ll see how it goes on the floor.”

Sen. Chris Rothfuss says he voted against the bill, even though he was able to amend it.

Sen. Chris Rothfuss:

“The language in the bill as it was originally written had that a teacher could be dismissed or terminated for any reason not specifically prohibited by law. The original language, in statute, said that there had to be good or just cause for a dismissal, so the amendment I proposed was basically to put that language back.”

The Bill now goes to the full Senate for debate.

Albany County Rep. Cathy Connolly says education is among her top priorities. She says she is concerned about the approach in Senate File 52.

Rep. Cathy Connolly:

“I must admit I am concerned about the direction in relation to accountability with teachers. I would much rather, instead of have accountability be individual teacher based, based on individual kids’ PAWS scores, or their students in their classroom PAWS scores. I would much rather see accountability.”

The Senate passed SF 22 on second reading today (Wednesday). Sen. Drew Perkins, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says the bill makes it clear that wind rights are a property right.

Sen. Drew Perkins:

“What it does is it makes sure the wind rights are going to stay with the property; you couldn’t do a deed and sever your wind rights. You can make a contract, an easement, a lease, any other thing you wanted to transfer and have those develop to a developer. But we’re not going to allow you to forever sever wind rights from the property.”

That bill will be heard on third an final reading on Thursday.

Senate Majority Floor Leader, Sen. Tony Ross says he thinks the session has gone pretty well so far, but there are a lot of big issues still to be discussed.

Sen. Tony Ross:

“It’s been pretty stead. A lot of the bigger issues related to, let’s say, education and so forth, and the budget, are yet to come out. Those will probably be hitting the floor next week, and, of course, that could bog up our time a little bit as we start talking about Senate File 70 and Senate File 52 and other bills.”

Some other bills we have been following.

The House passed HB 29 on a 35 to 23 vote. The bill will strip drivers of their right to refuse to undergo a test to determine their blood alcohol level. That bill now moves on to the Senate.

The Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 5, the defense of marriage constitutional amendment on second reading today. (Wednesday.) That bill will need to pass third reading in the Senate with a two-thirds majority in order to move on to the House.

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

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