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Senator Larry Hicks

Sen. Bouchard Calls Senate Colleagues “Slime Ball” and “Liar”; Says They Should Resign

in News/politics
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, took to name-calling his fellow senators on Friday, labeling one a “slime ball” and the other a “swamp monster.”

Bouchard, who is also running for U.S. House, said Senate Majority Floor Leader Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, was a “flat-out liar.”

Although he didn’t specify what Driskill was allegedly lying about, he posted a graphic of the vote count for a defeated Senate bill (SF-1012) which would have allowed doctors to prescribe any medicine for the treatment of Covid-19 and pharmacists the ability to fill such prescriptions without penalty.

The vote count showed Driskill voted against the bill.

Bouchard said he and Driskill had discussed hydroxychloroquine (a controversial alleged COVID treatment in which Bouchard is a proponent) and that Driskill said doctors in his area would not prescribe the medication for his wife who was ill with the virus.

Bouchard claimed he referred Driskill to a doctor who would treat his wife with the drug.

“She got what most people could NOT get. They got their prescription outside of WY,” Bouchard wrote on Facebook Friday. ” Oggie is playing games with legislation that would advance Covid Early Treatment practices, he needs to Resign!”

He also claimed that Driskill was taking Ivermectin (another controversial COVID drug that also doubles as a horse medication) during the special session and that Driskill got the OK to do so from Sen. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette.

“Real Leaders don’t play games with life matters. But Swamp Monsters do,” Bouchard wrote.

Mudslinging

Driskill told Cowboy State Daily on Friday that Bouchard was twisting the facts in order to drag his “reputation through the mud.”

Driskill explained that around December 2020, his wife was ill with COVID and she was not getting better. During a committee meeting, he mentioned that she was sick.

He said that Bouchard came to him and recommended a Cheyenne doctor who would prescribe “Trump’s cure.”

“The doctor did a tele-health meeting with my wife, which I was not a part of, where he prescribed her medication, which I then picked up at a Walgreens in Spearfish, South Dakota,” Driskill said.

Until Friday, when his wife spoke with Cowboy State Daily and confirmed the medication she received from the doctor (which included hydroxychloroquine), Driskill did not know what medicine she had taken to recover from COVID.

Driskill also noted that he spoke with the Wyoming Board of Health, which told him that doctors in Wyoming could prescribe any medication, on or off-label, that they saw fit and that no doctors have been censured or had privileges revoked in the last decade.

Did Take Ivermectin

Driskill did also confirm that he took one dose of Ivermectin before the special session began and one during the session, but that he didn’t ask Barlow for permission to take it.

“He’s a veterinarian, so I asked him what the side effects would be for a human taking this kind of medicine,” he said. “He works with this kind of stuff all day, so I wanted to know if it would make me go blind or make my liver sick if I took it. But, I went to a number of people about it, not just Dr. Barlow.”

Driskill also noted that while he took two doses of Ivermectin, that was his personal choice and he would not recommend anyone else do so. He is also vaccinated against COVID, he confirmed.

“I’ve got my own faults and there are many, but to have lies and slander that affect your reputation and the way people look at you differently, people will start to think there is something there,” he said.

“This is clearly an attempt to either not get me to run again or damage my reputation enough that I get beaten in the election. It doesn’t have anything to do with vaccines or anything else.”

“Slime Ball”

After Driskill, Bouchard set his sights on Senate Vice President Larry Hicks, R-Baggs.

Although he didn’t provide any examples or explain his accusation, Bouchard accused Hicks of using Senate PAC money to “quiet” him during his primary election.

“It’s not just his actions during the kabuki theater special session. Senate Vice President Larry Hicks tried to use Senate PAC money to quiet me in August of 2020,” Bouchard wrote.

“He couldn’t get off the phone fast enough when I told him I was taking no PAC money for my 2020 race. Larry is a slime ball. He needs to resign! Drain Wyoming’s Swamp!”

Hicks did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Friday.

Drain The Swamp

April Poley, Bouchard’s congressional campaign spokeswoman, said the senator was just “calling out the swamp” in Wyoming.

“He calls out the swamp. He always has. He always will. The swamp isn’t just in DC. Wyoming has its own swamp in Cheyenne,” she told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

“Staying silent on swamp activity would be equivalent to participating in it. Legislators are expected to turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy of legislative leadership and their committee assignments and progression of any bills they sponsor, depends on that silence.”

She also called Driskill a hypocrite.

“Driskell voted against Bouchard’s bill regarding COVID treatments yet when his wife was on the verge of being hospitalized last year, he was more than happy to take the help of drugs most WY voters so not have access to. Hypocrite,” she said.

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Senator says change needed in state budget process

in Government spending/News
Wyoming Legislature Budget process reform
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A fundamental change is needed in the way the Legislature handles the state’s budget, according to a member of the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs, a nine-year member of the Legislature, said the budget submitted to the Legislature by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees — working together as the Joint Appropriations Committee — is flawed because of the makeup of the JAC.

“I’m more disillusioned about the political process and the way we do the budgeting here in Wyoming now than I’ve ever been,” he said. “I think the process as is today is just structurally flawed.”

Hicks said the imbalance between Senate and House members (five senators to seven representatives) makes it impossible for the JAC to present a budget agreeable to both the House and Senate.

“(Representatives) have more members on there and they can vote (for) anything they want and routinely we’ve seen them do that,” he said. “So you don’t have what you would consider a reasonable compromise position.”

The members of the Senate Appropriations Committee this year decided to argue against the items of the JAC budget they did not support, Hicks said, resulting in the repeated conflicts between the two chambers over the measure.

Hicks suggested that the Legislature’s rules be changed so that five House members and five Senate members would make up the JAC.

“We could bypass a lot of that stuff if we would just go to a system where … it’s a 5-5 vote, where we are forced to compromise and then it is truly a Joint Appropriations Committee budget,” he said.

Most of the disputes over the supplemental budget approved by the Legislature stemmed from a difference in philosophy between the House and Senate, Hicks said, which became evident during discussions on potential new taxes.

“The position of the Senate is you can’t have this discussion of increasing taxes and not be able to show fiscal constraint,” he said. “The philosophy that seems to prevail, not with all the House … is ‘We’re OK, we’ve got a saving account, we do this spending and taxes both.’ That’s the philosophical difference we have right now. It’s not personality-driven.”

Hicks said if the Legislature does not do something to reduce spending at the same time it looks at adjusting the state’s tax structure, Wyoming is looking at significant shortfalls in the future as it draws down its holdings in reserve accounts.

“It pushes us toward that fiscal cliff, where then you … have to come back with a series of draconian cuts and substantial tax increases,” he said.

Hicks predicts difficult budget sessions in 2020

in Government spending/News
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By Cowboy State Daily

If it was difficult for the House and Senate to reach an agreement on the state’s supplemental budget this year, things could get very tough next year when the Legislature reviews a 2-year budget, said a legislative leader.

Sen. Larry Hicks R-Baggs, noted that the biennium budget to be reviewed by the Legislature in 2020 will total about $3 billion, compared to the supplemental budget of about $200 million they debated this year.

Supplemental budgets are adopted in odd-numbered years to fund projects projects that come up between the approval of two-year budgets during even-numbered years.

Debate between the House and Senate over their different versions of the budget grew heated this year and at one point prompted the Senate to kill a bill financing state construction projects.

Hicks, a longtime member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said such debates do nothing to help members of the Legislature get along.

“(The budget debate) always tends to drag out to the last minute,” he said. “What it does to the Legislature, it creates factions. We have a faction here and a faction here and a faction here. It strains those relationships.”

Gov. Mark Gordon on Tuesday signed the supplemental budget approved by the Legislature, although he also vetoed 14 “footnotes.” Such footnotes are often included in budget bills to provide direction for specific appropriation, but Gordon said many of those he vetoed went beyond what is allowed by Wyoming’s Constitution and actually affected existing laws. Such issues should be tackled in separate bills, he said.

Legislators on Tuesday began their review of the vetoes so they could determine whether they would attempt an override.

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