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Murdock: Legislators should be more concerned about loss of life

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This week’s special session of the Wyoming State Legislature reminds me of our Legislature’s reaction to the 1974 federal Emergency Highway Conservation Act prohibiting highway speed limits over 55 mph. We’re going to spend a lot of time and money showing just how outraged we are over a federal vaccination policy, even though Wyoming may have very little actual power to change that policy -- as happened in 1974.

It will cost the state about $25,000 per day for each day of this special session. Though the science proves that vaccinations save lives, that reality is found nowhere in any of the proposed bills.

We seem to be a lot more incensed about what the federal government does to us than what it does for us. Let’s not argue about the relative merits of federal programs that provide support for individuals and our education, health care, and highway systems. Let’s talk dollars: according to the Tax Foundation (an independent, non-profit organization), in fiscal 2017, Wyoming was second in the nation (behind Montana) in its reliance on federal dollars: 44.5% of the state’s general revenue was from federal dollars of one sort or another. For a state that prides itself on its independent and anti-federal government spirit, it seems in reality we’re incredibly dependent on and we're not outraged about getting all those federal dollars that keep us going.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 26, 1,174 Wyoming residents have died of COVID-19. Just for comparison, consider Nova Scotia, a Canadian province with a population of 980,000, which has had only 98 deaths during the same time period. I, for one, would prefer our elected officials think more of the impact of that loss of lives than about showing how darned independent and outraged we want people to think we are.



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