Wyoming Legislature kicks off
As Wyoming legislators are gearing up to consider a range of bills that would diversify Wyoming’s funding sources, Gov. Mark Gordon kicked off the 2020 legislative session with a speech centered on protecting the place of fossil fuels in Wyoming’s economy.
That set the stage for what came next.
Two high-profile bills never made it off the ground on the first day of Wyoming’s 2020 legislative session, failing to gain the two-thirds majority needed to introduce a bill during a budget session.
The first, House Bill 22, was a reincarnation of the bill that last year threatened to eliminate Teton County’s housing mitigation program. See page A1 for more on that bill.
The other, House Bill 75, would have expanded Medicaid eligibility to anyone earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level. That would have granted health insurance coverage to an estimated 19,000 Wyoming residents.
The bill failed despite being sponsored by the Revenue Committee, an advantage that some hoped would draw more support from a Legislature that has consistently refused to expand Medicaid, even as most states in the country and all of Wyoming’s neighboring states have in recent years.
— Cody Cottier
St. John’s increases revenue
St. John’s Health saw net revenue in the first six months of the fiscal year grow by $10 million over the previous year.
Changes in the hospital’s services drove the increase. Hospital CFO John Kren said a few departments led the charge: cardiology, pulmonology and oncology.
New treatments like brachytherapy are a part of why those departments have steered the profit line higher. They are part of the hospital’s long-term vision to offer more services that induce patients to stay in town while treating diseases like cancer.
— Tom Hallberg
Scuffle in the cockpit
Two Connecticut men were hauled off a delayed flight at the Jackson Hole Airport on Saturday after an incident one described as a “ridiculous misunderstanding.”
Police said the two passengers were behaving so badly that they had to use a baton on one for resisting arrest.
The two men were drinking while waiting for the plane to take off, and, somewhere along the line, ended up in the cockpit.
Officers were called to remove the “unruly men” from the plane after receiving a report of passengers fighting with the pilot.
— Emily Mieure
Dems test ranked-choice
Last week, the Teton County Democratic Party gave voters a chance to try something new: the ranked-choice voting method set to debut statewide at the April 4 Wyoming Democratic caucus.
At the meeting, which took place at Picnic, state Rep. Mike Yin and party Chairwoman Marylee White sought to explain the system and assuage voters’ concerns about the primary. Yin said Wyoming will not use the same troubled vendor as Iowa in its contest.
Ranked-choice voting essentially gives voters the opportunity to rank up to five candidates.
Though voters weren’t clear on all the details, they said they were confident in the process and had faith in their leaders.
“I actually trust them to come up with a good plan,” said Penny Maldonado, a Moran precinct committeeperson for the Democrats.
— Billy Arnold