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Wyoming’s 65th Legislature: General Session Review

in News/Health care/Taxes/Education/Agriculture/Criminal justice
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It’s all over for this year. Check out our bitesized rundown of what passed and what failed in the 65th Wyoming Legislature’s General Session. Stay tuned this weekend for more analysis on the session highs and lows with our Robert Geha.

Thanks for watching and be sure to follow Cowboy State Daily for our expanded statewide coverage of Wyoming news coming to your feed in the days ahead.

Community college bachelor’s degree bill will help industry: Chamber official

in News/Education/Business
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By Cowboy State Daily

One of the last bills to pass during the Legislature’s general session should help the state’s businesses find the better educated workers they need, according to the head of Cheyenne’s Chamber of Commerce.

Dale Steenbergen, chief executive officer of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, said SF 111 will help answer the demand among the state’s industries for an educated workforce.

“Something that our industries have been screaming for that they need, they need better educated employees,” he said. “We talk about the workforce and the lack of education for workforce here all the time and this can be a real game changer for us.”

The bill was among the last approved by Wyoming’s House on Wednesday as the Legislature wrapped up its general session. It would allow the state’s community colleges to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in applied sciences.

House begins final day by killing three bills

in Government spending/News/Health care/Taxes
Graduates toss their caps in the air, ALT=Wyoming to offer bachelors degrees at community colleges
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By Cowboy State Daily

The first three bills to be reviewed by Wyoming’s House on what was scheduled to be the last day of its 2019 general session did not fare well on Wednesday.

Bills addressing Medicaid eligibility, the payment of sales tax on large construction projects and the role of the state Select Committee on School Facilities in construction projects all died in their third and final reading on the House floor.

However, a bill designed to encourage students to pursue technical courses at the state’s community colleges was approved, as was a bill that would allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in applied science.

The Legislature scheduled itself to end its session on Wednesday. Legislators spent much of the day addressing Gov. Mark Gordon’s veto of 14 footnotes to the supplemental budget.

The House was the only chamber with regular business left to address — eight bills on third and final reading.

But SF 103, 114 and 144 all died on their final votes.

SF 144 would impose requirements for those receiving Medicaid assistance to either work, attend school or complete volunteer duty. The bill, which died on a vote of 39-20, would have exempted those with serious medical problems from the requirement.

SF 103 would have expanded the role of the Select Committee on School Facilities to oversee community college and state capital construction projects. It died on a vote of 51-8.

SF 114 would have allowed companies building industrial facilities to work out contracts for the payment of sales and use taxes on those facilities over 20 years. It was killed in a vote of 33-25.

However, in a session that ran well past 7 p.m., representatives approved SF 111, a bill that would let community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in applied science, approving the measure on a vote of 51-8.

Also approved was SF 122, a bill that would provide grants for students wishing to pursue technical programs at community colleges. Dubbed the “Wyoming Works Program,” it would also provide funding for community colleges to offer such programs. Students would not be required to have a high school diploma to take part in the program.

SF 134, a bill that would provide exemptions for some oil and natural gas production from wells that had been shut down and then restarted, was also approved.

Community Colleges could offer four-year degrees under bill

in News
Collabrative group seemingly working together and writing in a notepad, ALT=community college, four year degree
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Wyoming’s community colleges may be offering 4-year degrees in the future under legislation approved in its second reading in Wyoming’s Senate on Monday.

SF 111 would allow all seven of Wyoming’s community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in applied science. 

Bill sponsor Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, said the program would give vocational and technical students a higher level of training.

“What that looks like on the ground is really … an individual who may have an associate’s degree in welding or some other vocational education like electricians to get an additional next-level step of educational opportunity, by understanding legal principals that may apply or owning their own shops or businesses, that kind of degree programming,” she said.

The University of Wyoming is opposing the bill, largely because of concerns it would encroach on the university’s mission of higher education and research.

The bill is to be read a third time Tuesday. If approved, it will be sent to the House for its review.

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