House Has Question About Senate Version of Veterans Nursing Facility
The Wyoming House of Representatives on Friday voted against concurring with the Senate's version of the bill for a veterans skilled nursing facility over a technical issue, a Casper legislator said.
This does not change the Legislature's intent in House Bill 82 to build the 36-bed facility in Buffalo instead of Casper, Art Washut (R-Casper) said.
"It doesn't have anything to do with whether or not the facility is located in Casper, Washut said. "I don't think there's anything nefarious at all; it's just a question that needs to be answered before we pass it on."
Before the vote, House Speaker Steve Harshman (R-Casper) said the question was not about some kind of brinksmanship to reverse the decisions by the House and the Senate to locate the facility in Buffalo, Washut said.
The Senate version included an amendment about the creation of a state "skilled nursing facility special revenue account" to hold the federal Veterans Administration funds for the facility and for the state construction department to spend up to $17 million for it.
The question for the House was why this account was not in the original HB 82, and how that relates to the overall capital construction bill that has yet to come forward for consideration by the Legislature, Washut said. "It just could have been a minor oversight."
The House vote Friday also does not relate to the concern of Sen. Jim Anderson (R-Casper) that Buffalo may not be able to keep the facility full, he said. Anderson said the Veterans Administration will conduct an in-depth study beginning in April about that and other questions, and will decide at the end of the study next year whether to approve the project.
Some House members will meet with some Senate members to resolve the creation of the state account, Washut said. "In all likelihood it's just going to come back to the House for a vote after we get the answers."