Wyoming lawmakers wrestle with superintendent ruling

2014-02-08T07:00:00Z Wyoming lawmakers wrestle with superintendent rulingThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 08, 2014 7:00 am  • 

CHEYENNE — A legislative panel is drafting a bill that could lead to a special session to deal with fallout from the state Supreme Court's decision in the superintendent of public instruction case.

The state Supreme Court ruled 3-2 last week that a law enacted last year that took away many of the superintendent's duties was unconstitutional. The court said the Legislature went too far, but at the same time it acknowledged that lawmakers have the power to alter the superintendent's duties.

The Legislature's Management Council on Friday endorsed drafting a bill to create a supercommittee that would come up with legislation for a special session later this year if necessary.

The supercommittee would consist of legislative leaders and budget and education committee chairmen.

Concerns about Superintendent Cindy Hill's administration of the state Department of Education led to the GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead enacting a law last year that removed the superintendent as head of the agency. The superintendent was replaced by a director appointed by the governor, but Hill remained one of five statewide elected officials.

Hill, a Republican who has decided to run for governor this year, was removed as head of the department in the middle of her four-year term and was provided a new, separate office.

She filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.

While the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, the court process isn't yet done in the case.

The state is requesting a rehearing on the case from the Supreme Court. If a rehearing is granted, which is rare, the decision could be placed on hold. In addition, once the Supreme Court is done with the case, it goes back to the lower District Court where the lawsuit was originally filed for further proceedings.

Besides the legal uncertainty, lawmakers say they have little time to deal with the matter during a 20-day budget session that starts next Monday.

They lack definition from the Supreme Court on what legislative changes to the superintendent's duties would be constitutional. Reversing the changes made last year would take time to sort through.

"You can't just simply un-ring the bell at this point," said Senate Majority Leader Phil Nicholas, R-Laramie and a member of the Management Council.

Nicholas proposed the supercommittee, and the council unanimously approved the idea.

The council will consider the draft bill on Monday. If approved, the proposal would be considered by the full Legislature.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - February 10, 2014 6:21 am
    Ahhh- but it works
  2. ers
    Report Abuse
    ers - February 08, 2014 8:21 pm
    What a bunch of ninkin poops! I got news for these good ole boys....I wasn't going to support Hill for the governor but now I am! And I know others who feel the same as I.
  3. Nathan Bedford
    Report Abuse
    Nathan Bedford - February 08, 2014 11:27 am
    Every one of the good ol' boys had to take an oath to support and uphold the constitution. Its obvious that they've done neither.

    Its time to hold them accountable and remove them from office immediately.

    First they deny the will of the people in an unconstitutional manner then they ignore the Supreme Court.

    It will be interesting if Hill wins to see how they pass a bill to remove the governor's power and replace the position with an administrator. Don't laugh I'm sure Lubnau and the other boys at the Frat House are discussing it right now.

    Remember these clowns at the polls, time to throw all of them out office.
  4. FrosteaB
    Report Abuse
    FrosteaB - February 08, 2014 9:53 am
    The money and time that this issue has taken could better be served on other issues. Maybe the governor and legislators are not being the best stewards of our money.
  5. conservation know it all
    Report Abuse
    conservation know it all - February 08, 2014 9:16 am
    Your quote, attributed to Einstein, refers to insanity not stupidity.
  6. Wyoite
    Report Abuse
    Wyoite - February 08, 2014 9:02 am
    What's the definition of stupidity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
  7. Wyoite
    Report Abuse
    Wyoite - February 08, 2014 9:00 am
    These guys are unreal. They get caught doing something illegal and then, rather than apologize to the people for taking illegal actions that removed their elected official from her duties, they double down and try to do something a little less illegal. Wow.

    Right now Nicholas is one of Hills top campaigners. The more irrational he gets, and desperate he becomes, the more people he pushes into the Hill camp- and that tent is getting bigger by the day as these guys ignore the Supreme Court by not immediately reinstating the peoples choice to run the schools.

    These guys are doing far more damage to Mead than Hill ever could have if left to her own devices. Think about it- were it not for SF 104 Hill would be as recognizable and known as our state auditor, ol' what's her name!??!
  8. Kool Kat
    Report Abuse
    Kool Kat - February 08, 2014 8:43 am
    This seems to be a clear case that, if something wrong was done? The law makers had plenty of time to address it before the Wyoming Supreme Court. Evidently some one, two or three law makers apparently wanted Sup't Hill's elected position. As the law does say, "innocent of all charges, till proven guilty", in the court of law.
    I'm wondering if Sup't Hill upset some lawmakers cause they're school districts we not getting beyond their share of revenues from Hill's Dept? Thus claiming illegal activity and other lawmakers taking this claim at face value, snowballing Gov Mead into signing an ill advised bill into law.
    I don't see Gov Mead as a villain or the villain but, see a couple well respected legislators using their influence in spearheading a political lynch party. Which is really sad to see this, especially when Wyoming Republican lawmakers keep bashing an "error filled" and "law breaking" Obama for wrong-doing.
    Then Hill announcing her candidacy for Governor shows her trivial back lash at her apparent accusers that were unsuccessful. Sup't Hill needs to chill out and let the cards fall where they may. Wyoming voters are not only wise but, they are also cautious, especially in light of this fiasco.
    In the past year since this erupted unsuccessfully, I'd asked on this forum for proof that was not provided. Now I ask for the legislators to "shut up since they couldn't put up" and Sup't Hill to do her job as she had maintained she wanted to do since this fiasco first rose.

    Either that, or perhaps Wyoming voters might explore voting for conservative independents, tossing out "philosophical parties" from conserving the people's will. As Hill can go just as the rest of them can.
  9. pappy
    Report Abuse
    pappy - February 08, 2014 8:43 am
    A super committee made up of the good old boys. Now we have to have a special session to deal with their blunder. Senator Nicolas says "we can't just un-ring the bell;" well senator actually you can. All you have to do is pass Rep. Watt's bill that repeals SF104. But we will have a special session if and when the district court makes a ruling. Then we will have a special session when the good old boys decide to impeach. How much more taxpayer money are we going to let these fools spend to try to justify their actions. We will have an election before any of this happens.
  10. 99Savage
    Report Abuse
    99Savage - February 08, 2014 8:40 am
    Good gawd, give it a rest already and quit wasting taxpayer's money. Elections are coming up in November and let the voters decide. One thing is for sure, Mead will never get my vote. Elections have consequences.
  11. Report Abuse
    - February 08, 2014 8:02 am
    When will these guys decide enough is enough and go on with life? I can't believe they are wasting their time and our money on such things. Governor Mead, get over it!
  12. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - February 08, 2014 7:41 am
    Super Committees- Select -Committees when will these legislatures quit making-up new work groups??

    Enough is enough-- I say the Super Citizen Committee start weeding out these twits from the states payroll.
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