Wyoming Legislature update - March 3, 2016
Governor Matt Mead signs HJ0004 into law, March 3, 2016. The House Joint Resolution sought delisting of the grizzly bear and gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act. The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced the same day that it would move to delist the grizzly bear.
Left to right: Brian Nesvik, Chief Game Warden, Wyoming Game and Fish Dept.; Scott Talbott, Director, Wyoming Game and Fish Dept.; Rep. Hans Hunt; Amy Wallop-Hendrickson, Wyoming Wool Growers; Jim Magagna, Wyoming Stock Growers; Sen. Jim Allen; Rep. Albert Sommers; Governor Matt Mead; Rep. Tyler Lindholm; Sen. Stan Cooper. Legislative Service Office contributed photo.
by Albert Sommers, House District #20 Representative
March 4, 2016
Hello Sublette County, this is Albert Sommers reporting to you from the capitol on Thursday the 3rd of March. Yes, I said the capitol. Thursday morning, several of us legislators were given a tour of the renovation in progress on Wyoming’s historic capitol building. Remember, we are currently working out of the Jonah Building in eastern Cheyenne, while the capitol is being restored. This is a +$200 million project that will require at least three years of work, including work on the adjacent Herschler Building.
The capitol was first constructed in 1888, with additions in 1890 and 1917. Much of the building is made with wooden framework, and we could see the exposed fir beams on our tour today. This wooden structure is very hazardous, because there is no adequate ventilation in case of fire. Further, the old stonework facade, from stone quarried near Rawlins, has started to crack. The architectural firm that is currently hired has restored historic capitols around the nation, and they seem to care a lot about the history they are preserving. They will preserve all of the structure they can, and replace only that which is necessary for safety and efficiencies. Most of the rooms will be brought back to their original colors and form. I was very impressed with the detail that is being taken to preserve this Wyoming gem.
Today was a slow day in the Legislature, as we waited for the few bills left to move through the conference committees between the House and the Senate. The most important bill left in limbo is the local government funding bill, the hang up being how much money will be shifted from richer communities to poorer communities. Both formulas under consideration are far worse for Sublette County communities than the formula used in the past. However, more communities are helped by the formula than are hurt, which means we will lose the vote. The rumor today is that the Governor will not veto the budget bill, but we will wait to see. Certainly, he will line-item veto some of the budget bill.
Today, Governor Mead signed my resolution requesting Congress to seek delisting of the grizzly bear and gray wolf from protections under the Endangered Species Act. This bill signing was timely, as the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced today their intention to delist the grizzly bear. My resolution would further request the nation, through the federal government, to financially support state management of these species post-delisting, because the feds will continue to mandate certain management practices or population goals.