Wyoming Senate prepares for final reading on sixth penny sales tax

2012-03-02T06:30:00Z 2012-03-02T19:00:03Z Wyoming Senate prepares for final reading on sixth penny sales taxFrom staff and wire reports Casper Star-Tribune Online
March 02, 2012 6:30 am  • 

CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming Senate on Thursday approved for the second time a bill that allows voters to decide whether to impose a sixth-penny sales tax for road and street maintenance.

The bill comes up for third and final vote in the Senate today. It previously passed the House.

The Senate changed the bill Thursday to allow one-time major maintenance, renovation or reconstruction of a specifically defined section of public roadway not included in regular county operations. The tax would end when the specified amount of money has been collected.

Sen. Curt Meier, R-LaGrange, said the amendment would allow small towns to fix their streets.

Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper, said the amendment is contrary to the intent of the bill.

"This is a significant policy change for the capital facilities tax," Perkins said.

To get the capital facilities tax on the ballot, the governing bodies in a county must approve the proposal.

EDUCATION REFORM: The House Appropriations Committee advanced the Wyoming public school education reform bill.

The panel approved Senate File 57 on a 7-0 vote Thursday. The bill now goes to the House floor for consideration.

Lawmakers say the bill is another step in a long education reform process that will require additional work by the Legislature next year.

HIGH-SPEED BILLS: Two bills intended to speed up travel time on Wyoming roads are moving smoothly through the Senate.

House Bill 21 allows drivers to travel 80 mph to pass a slower-moving vehicle on two-lane highways.

It received unanimous approval from the Senate Committee on Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs late Thursday.

House Bill 48 gives the head of the Wyoming Department of Transportation authority to designate an 80 mph speed limit on parts of interstate highways.

The bill already passed the House. It will be considered by the Senate transportation committee this morning.

REDISTRICTING: The Senate voted 28-2 in favor of the redistricting plan Thursday.

The bill previously passed the House.

If the House approves the minor changes made by the Senate, as is likely, the Legislature will have finished its constitutional obligation to redistrict itself every 10 years following the federal census.

PUBLIC RECORDS: The House for the second time approved a bill that would refine definitions of public records and make other changes to the law that allows public inspection of records.

The House approved an amendment that would require records be available if they relate directly to state funding of agricultural projects.

WOLF MANAGEMENT: The House gave preliminary approval to a bill that would change the state's wolf management law to comport with an agreement that Gov. Matt Mead reached last summer with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to end federal protection for wolves in the state.

ETHANOL TAX CREDIT: The House for the second time approved a bill that would repeal the gasoline tax credit for ethanol producers.

DUI PENALTIES: The Senate for the second time voted to advance a bill that would raise the penalties for people who receive a fourth conviction for driving under the influence from a maximum of two years up to a maximum of seven years in prison.

GAME AND FISH: The House for the second time gave its approval to a Senate bill that would allow the state Game and Fish Commission to set specifications for guns, ammunition and archery equipment that can be used to hunt particular species of game animals. The specifications are currently set in state law.

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