Cowboy State Daily: Outside of public tours, there aren’t many people who get to walk the halls of the White House, let alone decorate them.
Wyoming state Rep. Chad Banks, D-Rock Springs, was recently given that opportunity as one of about 150 people chosen to help set up First Lady Jill Biden’s “We the People” seasonal White House holiday decorations.
“Everywhere you look you’re reminded of history, and the honor associated with the building and how valuable it is to our country,” Banks said.
Casper Star-Tribune: In an effort to help burdened Wyoming homeowners, a committee of lawmakers this week voted to sponsor two bills aimed at property tax relief.
The first was a constitutional amendment draft proposed by Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson. If passed, it would allow lawmakers to make residences their own tax class, lower the assessment rate for residential properties as well as pave the way for additional property tax exemptions.
The Wyoming Constitution currently groups residential, agricultural and commercial property under the same tax class.
Wyoming Truth: A state senator vowed to do whatever he can to persuade his colleagues in a Wyoming legislature committee to approve more funding for public education as the state faces accusations of underfunding education in an ongoing court case.
Sen. Mike Gierau (D-Jackson), a member of the Joint Appropriations Committee, said that Gov. Mark Gordon’s recent recommendation of a $70 million external cost adjustment for K-12 education is more appropriate than the $43 million his committee suggested last month.
“I’m going to work on pressing my colleagues that the $70 million number is a better number,” Gierau said.
Casper Star-Tribune: Rep. Mike Yin of Jackson will serve as minority floor leader for the Democrats in the Wyoming House of Representatives.
The state’s legislative Democrats met Sunday to decide on House leadership. In addition to selecting Yin as floor leader, they also chose Rep. Karlee Provenza of Laramie as minority whip and Rep. Trey Sherwood of Laramie as minority caucus chair.
Allegations that a Cheyenne lawmaker threatened the lives of a current legislator and a former state representative have raised broader concerns about the weight of threats against Indigenous women as well as rising incivility in the Wyoming Legislature.
The Wyoming House of Representatives and the Cheyenne Police Department are investigating the allegations against Rep. John Romero-Martinez, R-Cheyenne.
Powell Tribune: The chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party condemned the Legislature for its redistricting process throughout the 2022 budget session, but the organization will not file suit in opposition.
In a statement released at a news conference Thursday, Joe Barbuto said the redistricting ordeal resulted in a “powerful and persuasive” argument for turning Wyoming’s process over to an independent commission to uphold the principle of “one person, one vote.” This is not currently maintained with the 62-31 map approved by legislators, due to Sheridan County being over the standard 5% population deviation and voters underrepresented. Read more
The Wyoming Democratic Party criticized lawmakers Thursday for how they redrew legislative district lines during the 2022 budget session. The party denounced the Legislature for prolonging the redistricting process into the late hours of the final day of the session despite having several months to work on the issue.
“Even more disturbing are the concerns that much of it was motivated by lawmakers attempting to pick their own voters, including family members in some cases, instead of focusing on creating districts that made sense and offered fair equal representation,” Wyoming Democratic Party Chairman Joe Barbuto said in a statement.
Jackson Hole News & Guide: A bill that expands the definition of stalking to encompass 21st century technology was signed into law on Monday by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon.
Senate-Enrolled Act 44 expands the definition of stalking under the law to include electronic means of contact and surveillance.
“It’s important to keep our statutes up to date,” Teton County Rep. Mike Yin said. “We didn’t have a way to prosecute someone who was stalking someone virtually, like GPS, tracking devices or other forms of internet tracking. Now if you’re harassing someone virtually, tracking someone or what websites they’re visiting, that can still fall under the statute of stalking. I think it’s another tool in the toolbox to help keep people safe.” Read more
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