Wyoming Senate OKs $200,000 For Little-Known Archaeological Site Near Ghost Town

Wyoming senators gave a thumbs up to 10 bills Monday, including one that protects a little-known archaeology site adjacent to the Powars II red ocher mine outside of the ghost town of Sunrise, Wyoming.

Renée Jean

January 17, 20233 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Ten bills, including one that would protect an archeological site that is adjacent to the Powars II red ocher mine in Platte County, are headed to the House after third reading on the Senate Floor on Monday afternoon.

The bills were all part of a consent agenda that sailed through the Senate, generating little to no opposition. 

The Sutton Archeological bill, Senate File 58, will cost an estimated $200,000 to secure a site that Wyoming State Archeologist Spencer Pelton told Cowboy State Daily is much younger than the Powars site, but that has extraordinarily large ceremonial circles, possibly used for dancing. 

The floor of one circle is entirely painted with red ocher.

“If you were dancing inside the circle, you probably would have been covered in red paint at the end of it,” Pelton said. “It would have been an interesting scene.”

Here are the other bills that were part of the consent agenda and advance to the House for consideration:

• Senate File 2: Extends the sunset date for the Wyoming Telecommunications Act to 2025.

• Senate File 5: Grants the insurance commissioner discretion to require reporting of malpractice claims, specifies the amount of notice insurers must be given when reports are required. Effective July 1.

• Senate File 6: Modernizes insurance rebates and disallows unfair discrimination in premiums where risk considerations are similar. Effective July 1.

• Senate File 16: Allows moving expenses for new hires and transfers of existing state employees. The fiscal note does not determine the impact of the bill. Effective July 1.

• Senate File 19: Requires children younger than 2, or under weight or height design limits, to be placed in a rear-facing child safety restraint system. Disallows placing a rear-facing child safety restraint in front of an active airbag. Effective July 1.

• Senate File 20: Strikes a requirement for the photograph on driver’s licenses and identification cards to be in color. Effective July 1.

• Senate File 59: Increases the expenditure authority for the Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources from 30% to 60%. Effective July 1.

• Senate File 77: Repeals an ineffective apprenticeship program that offered a 1% bid preference for companies that documented that at least 10% of overall labor came from apprentices. The program was never used in 15 years. Effective July 1.

• Senate File 78: Directs more widespread information be available to Wyoming schools and students about available apprenticeship programs, and directs schools to have a process in place for existing programs. Requires a report to lawmakers on these efforts. Effective July 1.

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Renée Jean

Business and Tourism Reporter