Dave Simpson: They’re Off And Running In Cheyenne

Columnist Dave Simpson writes: "If you get a chance, spend a day at the beautifully-restored Wyoming Capitol while the legislative session is underway. It's stunning. And it's never a bad idea to sit up in the gallery and get a look at how the legislative sausage is made."

Dave Simpson

January 16, 20234 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Dave Simpson, columnist

A resolution to ban electric car sales in Wyoming by 2035?

Oh, yeah. The exact opposite of California’s ban on internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

Looks like the legislative session that got underway last week will not disappoint. Buckle up, folks.

There will be something in coming weeks for left wingers (there are still a few left), right wingers, middle-of-the-bird types, Republicans in Name Only, and “crazies” (like us).

Oh, there will be the usual wet blankets who say resolutions like this are a waste of time. And don’t bet the farm on it passing. But I say whenever we get a chance to rise up, face west, and direct a rude, single-digit salute to Gov. Gavin Newsom out in California, it’s time well spent.

Take that, Pretty Boy!

(Years ago, a bill having to do with vicious dogs was making its way through the legislature. Some lawmaker, apparently bored with the mind-numbing process of making laws, amended the bill to say “vicious dogs and lobbyists.” Everybody got a laugh. Then they had to amend the bill again to make it illegal to put lobbyists out of their misery like vicious dogs. No harm done by a moment of levity. Forty days might not sound long, but lawmakers get kind of ringy toward adjournment.)

If you get a chance to spend a day at the Capitol, I highly recommend it. Spending time in the beautifully-restored building is well worth the trip. The stained glass skylights in the House and Senate are particularly beautiful late in the afternoon. And it’s never a bad idea to sit up in the gallery and see how the legislative sausage is made.

Meanwhile, resolutions like banning electric car sales by 2035 bring to mind the famous quote from

15-year-old Helen Mettler in 1925:

“God bless Wyoming, and keep it wild.”

That said, a couple follow ups on items seen lately in the Cowboy State Daily are in order.

– There was an article on January 2nd by automotive writer Aaron Turpen about Cheyenne’s infamous two-lane roundabout at the intersection of Pershing Boulevard and Converse Avenue. Members of the Cowboy State Daily staff were queried about the roundabout, and most were skeptical.

I go through that intersection twice a day on my way to exercise. And while my wife hates the roundabout, going so far as to avoid Pershing entirely in that part of town, I have learned to safely negotiate the roundabout.

The key is to stay in the outside lane. The inside lane is for reckless people who are unafraid of death. From the outside lane, approach the roundabout like a  bomber pilot arriving over the target. Here’s the most important part: Keep a sharp eye out for bogies coming in hot from your four o’clock position. That’s where the enemy comes from. Some spud from Nebraska or Colorado who has never soloed through a two-lane roundabout will outflank you just as sure as God made applesauce. But, if there’s no first timer bearing down on you, you’re golden. And it takes a lot less time than when there were stop lights at that troubled five-way intersection.

One last thing about roundabouts: Some years back, they were driving livestock into town for Frontier Days, and they directed the cows through the roundabout up at the Vandehei exit off I-25.

And the cows made it through the roundabout without incident.

Bottom line: If cows can do it, so can you.

– And lastly, in November I wrote that it took my son two hours to get his driver’s license renewed in Cheyenne. And it took my wife four hours when there was a mixup over the telephone number to text her at when it was her turn.

The good news: In December I got in and out in a mere 50 minutes. And the aforementioned Aaron Turpen wrote that on his second try, he did even better, getting renewed in a breathtaking 20 minutes.

In my case, everyone there was really nice.

The bad news:

The picture on my new driver’s license looks like someone whose next of kin should be notified.

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.