GUNS IN SCHOOLS
Wyoming school district discusses plan to arm educators
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — District officials in Wyoming have held the first of three public meetings about a proposal to arm educators at six rural schools. The Gillette News Record reported Wednesday that the educators in the Campbell County School District would be given de-escalation and verbal-control techniques and must take psychological evaluations designed to discover participant tendencies. The district is expected to pay for ammunition, lock boxes, evaluations, drug and alcohol tests and 56 hours of training. It would not pay for firearms and holsters. Officials have not yet provided an estimated cost. Officials encourage people to comment at the next two meetings or submit comments online or by mail.
Gambling regulation bill headed to Wyoming Legislature
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers propose to expand the role of a commission that oversees horse racing to include regulating all for-profit gambling. The new gambling commission, currently called the Pari-Mutuel Commission, would regulate everything from games of skill to bingo halls. The law would exclude nonprofit organizations such as the Boy Scouts or National Rifle Association that rely on games like bingo to raise money. The Casper Star-Tribune reports such groups would still have to report gambling proceeds to the state. The Joint Committee on Travel, Recreation and Cultural Resources voted 11-2 on Jan. 30 to advance the bill for possible consideration by the full Legislature in the month ahead.
STATE DEMOCRATS-CAUCUS SYSTEM
Wyoming Democrats reaffirm confidence in upcoming caucus
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming's Democratic Party officials says it has confidence in the process that will be used to tally votes in the state's upcoming presidential caucus. The Casper Star-Tribune reports the state party will test a new means of counting votes during the April 4 caucus. Wyoming Democrats will allocate delegates for the first time with a ranked-choice system that allows voters to list up to five candidates. An official says the Wyoming party has no concerns about the logistics after hiring a trusted vendor that has established three separate software fail-safes in the system used to collect results.
Weak production report caps 2019 for Powder River Basin coal
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Coal mining in the top U.S. coal-producing region was down sharply at the end of 2019 compared to the year before. Production in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana fell nearly 14% in the last quarter compared to the same period in 2018. U.S. government data released Monday show that volumes for the three-month period were the lowest in over two decades amid ongoing competition from inexpensive natural gas as utilities' fuel of choice to generate electricity. The weak quarter capped a tumultuous year of bankruptcies, mine shutdowns and merger proposals among companies operating in the basin.
Commissioners postpone vote on Wyoming land use regulations
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — County officials in Wyoming have postponed a final decision on a land use regulation change that would allow a South Dakota company to build a wild horse facility. Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported that the Laramie County Board of Commissioners decided to wait before voting on a change that would affect any future projects deemed concentrated animal feeding operations, including Equine Elite's proposed facility in Burns. Commissioners say any proposed projects currently must have the approval of neighbors within a 3-mile radius but the proposed changes would only require neighbors within a mile to approve.
Documents detail ouster of University of Wyoming president
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Records obtained by Wyoming news outlets show the University of Wyoming launched an investigation into then-President Laurie Nichols following accusations that she verbally abused employees. The Casper Star-Tribune and WyoFile report the documents indicate why the board of trustees cancelled a planned renewal of Nichols’ contract in 2019. The news outlets obtained the documents after they sued under Wyoming's public records act. Nichols has since been hired as president of Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. Nichols said in a statement that she never treated anybody in an abusive way. A university trustee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.