Governor delivers State of the State address
Governor Mark Gordon, gave the first State of the State address in the newly renovated Capitol Building in Cheyenne Monday.
Gordon said Wyoming is on good footing even as it faces strong challenges to its economy from outside forces. Gordon ticked through a list of positive signs.
The state’s jobless rate as at its lowest point since 2008 and gross domestic products are up. So is personal income. Gordon also said state leaders have planned well for the challenging times Wyoming now faces.
The trouble facing the state is real, though. The biggest applause line in the one-hour speech came when the governor said he is mounting a full-throttle defense against attacks on Wyoming coal. Gordon said coal has been vilified.
He noted that 28 states have enacted low carbon policies or have undertaken other actions targeting the very industries that have built Wyoming schools and funded public infrastructure here.
Among those cheering the governor during a standing ovation was Senator Larry Hicks of Baggs. Mead also noted that only two natural gas rigs are operating in Wyoming—the lowest number in 20 years.
After setting the stage with a less than rosy outlook for state revenues because of soft markets for coal and gas, the governor presented the outlines of an austere budget. Gordon said his plan is meant to trigger a conversation about the state’s future.
Capitol construction, which went unchecked in recent years, will be brought to heel. Public school funding will continue at current levels, the governor said, but the legislature will have to find a new formula. Using the state’s savings to pay for schools is unsustainable, he said.
Gordon told lawmakers they have a short window of opportunity with this year’s recalibration to reconfigure what needs to be taught and how to pay for it.
The governor touched on a number of other topics, including tourism and healthcare. He said he is committed to improving access and lowering the cost of health care, including prescription drugs.
Carbon County has one of the highest suicide rates in a state with one of the highest rates in the nation.
Gordon also talked about the importance of Wyoming wildlife, spending several minutes talking about his pending executive order on migration corridors.
Wyoming is the first state in the nation to undertake the mission of establishing seasonal migration routes. Gordon said the goal is to find a balance between private property rights and Wyoming’s natural resources.
The governor said the committee he hand-picked to study the issue crafted a practical way to identify, designate and protect select migration routes without offending landowners.
Carbon County Commissioner John Espy served on the governor’s task force that provided many of the recommendations in the rule. Espy said yesterday that he expects the governor to sign the EO sometime this week.
The governor delivered his remarks to the Joint Session of the legislature on day one of the 28-day budget session. Lawmakers have until the end of the week to have any new legislation introduced for consideration.
Infrastructure woes cause more trouble at MHCC
Memorial Hospital of Carbon County has temporarily closed its operating room and a portion of its medical surgical unit due to multiple water leaks and other infrastructure issues. The hospital and its Emergency Department remain open, and continue to accept patients while authorized personnel work to address the ongoing issues. Cali O’Hare reports.
County officials may impose heavier fines to keep motorists off closed roads
Trucks and other motorists running highway road closures has become a problem this winter. The Carbon County Commissioners and the Sheriff’s Office are working to determine how to best deter people from ignoring the closures, putting themselves and others at risk.
State officials are also reminding the public about the importance of staying off roads when the gates are closed.
Sports: Rawlins WR talks details of signing with Black Hills State
As National Signing Day for high school players to sign with colleges to take their skill set to the next level slows down, Joey Saverine got a chance to catch up with some of the county student athletes as a part of a mini-series on their perspective of the recruitment process, and what made them standout. This morning features one of two Rawlins’ wide receivers.
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