Wyoming lawmakers reject Medicaid expansion effort
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers have rejected the second effort to expand Medicaid in five days. The Casper Star-Tribune reported Friday that the Republican state Rep. Pat Sweeney filed a bill Wednesday to amend the state constitution, but it did not receive two-thirds of the House and Senate vote. The House voted 40-16 against the proposal to expand Medicaid and include those making 138% of the federal poverty line, or about $36,000 a year. Officials say the bill's rejection follows the House vote to kill a separate bill that would have allowed Gov. Mark Gordon to study expansion and then decide whether to move forward with it.
Winter weather shuts down Wyoming highways
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Officials have closed portions of Interstate 80 and other highways in southern Wyoming due to winter conditions. Wyoming Department of Transportation officials say I-80 between Laramie and Rawlins was shut down Saturday morning and was expected to remain closed between nine and 11 hours. The interstate is also closed between Cheyenne and Otto Road due to a rolling closure. Other closures included U.S. Highway 191 south of Rock Springs to the Utah state line. Stretches of southern Wyoming are under a winter storm warning and most of the state is under a high-wind warning.
Livestock disease found in elk in Montana's Ruby Mountains
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — State officials say the livestock disease brucellosis has been found in elk in southwestern Montana’s Ruby Mountains for the first time. It's the latest evidence that the disease that can cause animals to prematurely abort their young continues to slowly spread among wildlife. Two elk tested positive for exposure during recent testing by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The disease can infect cattle, bison, and elk. It’s been essentially eradicated in U.S. livestock herds but persists in wildlife populations in and around Yellowstone National Park.
WEST YELLOWSTONE HOMICIDE
Fourth person charged in fatal beating of 12-year-old boy
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana authorities have arrested a fourth person accused of being involved in the fatal beating of a 12-year-old boy at his home in West Yellowstone. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported that 18-year-old Gage Roush has been arrested and charged with felony assault of a minor and appeared in court in the Feb. 3 death of James Alex Hurley. After Hurley's death, investigators found video evidence they say indicates Roush and family members regularly abused him. Charging documents say Roush allegedly told detectives that he was the person in the video hitting Hurley. Prosecutors say the autopsy found he had bruising all over his body and died from trauma to the head.
Elk and pronghorn poaching investigation underway in Montana
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials are investigating the illegal killing of elk and pronghorn in Park County. A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks statement says game wardens on Thursday found three cow elk that had been shot from a road south of Livingston and their meat left to waste. About a mile away, nine pronghorn were shot from the road and left to waste. FWP officials say blood trails indicate other animals may have been shot. A nearby landowner reported hearing gunfire early Thursday morning. Officials are asking anyone with information to contact FWP's Livingston office or the state's poaching hotline, 1-800-TIP-MONT.
Trump's $1.5B uranium bailout triggers rush of mining plans
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump's $1.5 billion proposal to prop up the country's nuclear fuel industry has emboldened at least one company to take steps toward boosting operations at dormant uranium mines around the West, including outside Grand Canyon National Park. The company, Canada-based Energy Fuels Inc., has announced a stock sale and says it will use the proceeds for its uranium mining operations in the U.S. West. Energy Fuels confirms that may include moving to start operations at a controversial new uranium mine near Grand Canyon National Park. Conservation groups and Democratic lawmakers fear mining there could contaminate water resources.