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Wyoming lawmakers to consider changing marijuana penalties

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers are set to consider changing the way the state penalizes marijuana during the next legislative session. A proposal from the Joint Judiciary Committee’s discussion on Thursday would reduce first-offense marijuana possession to a fine, but would increase the penalties for subsequent offenses. First offenses would be misdemeanors but subsequent offenses would eventually result in felony charges. Laws against distribution would not be affected. Before the Judiciary Committee meets again, a subcommittee will write a more detailed proposal about the changes. … Read entire article »

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Wrong-way driver killed in crash with highway trooper

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A 23-year-old man who was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 in north-central Wyoming died in a head-on crash with a highway patrol trooper who was responding to a report about a wrong-way driver. The Wyoming Highway Patrol says the collision happened at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday about 13 miles south of Sheridan. The victim, Michael Westika of Sheridan, died at the scene. The patrol says trooper David Motsick was responding to a separate, non-emergency call when he received a report about a wrong-way driver. Soon after, Motsick came up behind an eastbound ambulance, which swerved to avoid Westika’s car. Officials say Motsick, a 15-year veteran with the patrol, didn’t … Read entire article »

State education board approves new K-12 science standards

DAYTON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Board of Education has approved new K-12 science standards. Educators and others say Wyoming’s current standards are more than 10 years old and are outdated. The new standards are part of an effort to better prepare Wyoming students in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The standards approved Friday during a board meeting in Sheridan County are the board’s second attempt at revising the standards. The first attempt was halted in 2014 over concern about the use of Next Generation Science Standards, which were developed by organizations outside the state. Some in Wyoming didn’t like how the Next Generation standards addressed human-caused global warming. Fossil fuels extraction is the state’s main industry. The … Read entire article »

Wyoming begins charging for access to electronic records

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming state government agencies will charge the public for staff time required to respond to requests to inspect electronic records under a rule Gov. Matt Mead approved this month. Media and public interest groups had opposed the rule during its development by the Wyoming Department of Administration and Information. The groups say it will stifle public scrutiny of government operations and expenditures. The Legislature called for the rule to be drafted two years ago. Top lawmakers say it’s necessary to address massive information requests that often command excessive state agency staff time. The Wyoming Supreme Court is weighing a challenge to the practice of government entities charging for inspection of electronic records. The Wyoming … Read entire article »

Wyoming legislators reject wind tax hike

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers have shot down a proposal to increase taxes on wind energy. The decision came after no members of the public spoke in favor of the legislation at a Thursday meeting. The idea behind the tax increase was to use the extra money to support Wyoming schools. School constructions funds, which are primarily funded with coal lease bonuses, have been on the decline with no new coal leases in years. Rep. Mike Madden’s proposal to raise the tax from $1 to $3 has drawn strong criticism from the wind industry. Wind groups say a new tax would put Wyoming at a competitive disadvantage for wind projects at a time when the state is … Read entire article »

Lawmakers abandon proposed cigarette tax hike

BUFFALO, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers have abandoned a proposal to increase the cigarette tax in the state after lobbyists representing nicotine companies objected. The Joint Revenue Committee on Thursday voted to reject a proposal that would have increased the state cigarette tax by $1.25 a pack. The current tax is 60 cents for a pack of cigarettes. Wyoming currently has some of the lowest tobacco taxes and the highest smoking rates in the country. Nationally, the average tax is $1.65 a pack. Lobbyists at the meeting representing R.J. Reynolds Co.; Phillip Morris USA; the Cigar Association of America; the Wyoming State Liquor Association and others argued that if Wyoming increased the tax smokers would just go buy … Read entire article »

Sexual harassment common at national parks, panel told

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House committee is investigating complaints of sexual harassment, bullying and other misconduct at national parks across the country, including at iconic sites such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. At Yosemite, at least 18 employees have come forward with allegations of harassment or hostile work conditions. At Yellowstone, officials are investigating complaints of sexual exploitation, intimidation and retaliation. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee heard testimony on the allegations Thursday. The complaints follow a report by the Interior Department’s inspector general that found male employees at the Grand Canyon preyed on female colleagues, demanded sex and retaliated against women who refused. Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah said that instead of being fired, … Read entire article »

Riverton Museum Traveling Exhibit Installation

Installation of Wind River Visions: Ancient Images of the Wind River Country has been installed at the Riverton Museum with the help of museum volunteer, Sue Tonkin.  The Fremont County Museums in Dubois, Lander and Riverton have combined efforts to create the first Fremont County Museums Traveling Exhibit, Wind River Visions: Ancient Images of the Wind River Country.   The Wind River Visions program identifies significant themes in the Wind River Area and creates a photo exhibit to interpret those aspects of our shared history and culture.  The first exhibit focuses on the extensive petroglyphs and pictographs that grace this area. There are 26 full color photos and 9 text panels that talk about the different styles.  The … Read entire article »

Lawmakers consider legislation to free up liquor licenses

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers are considering legislation that would free up inactive liquor licenses for new businesses to use. The Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee voted last week to send a bill that would require license holders to sell liquor for 12 consecutive months to the full Legislature in 2017. Currently, liquor license holders are only required to sell alcohol for three consecutive months per year to keep their license. Because retail liquor licenses are limited by an area’s population, unused licenses prevent other businesses from obtaining them. Seasonal operations could still keep their licenses under the proposed legislation. … Read entire article »

18-year-old faces manslaughter charge for Cheyenne shooting

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Laramie County authorities have located an 18-year-old man wanted for information relating to a Cheyenne shooting death and have booked him into jail on suspicion of manslaughter. Sheriff’s deputies had wanted to question Austin Daniels after 19-year-old Mark Dreiman was fatally shot at a home on Saturday. Sheriff’s Capt. Linda Gesell says Daniels was found Wednesday at the Rodeo Inn in Cheyenne with a handgun. She says Daniels had initially been taken into custody on a warrant for failure to appear in court for a burglary case. He was later jailed for investigation of manslaughter. Dreiman died Saturday after being shot in the upper chest and neck area. His father, Karl Dreiman, says he … Read entire article »