Secret Wolf Licenses; The Kerfuffle Watch
Blogs on the Legislative Budget Session
In addition to WyoFile’s own intrepid Sage Grouse, RT Cox, a number of journalists, state politicians, policy wonks, environmental activists and political party henchmen are blogging the 2010 Budget Session of the Wyoming Legislature now in full swing in Cheyenne. Their blog vignettes, sometimes written after the cocktail hour, offer an inside-the-sausage-factory look at how our laws are addressed and undressed.
In her blog, for example, the Casper Star-Tribune’s Joan Barron, doyenne of the capital press corps, offered this item on a little-celebrated bill offering exceptional anonymity to those who are issued grey wolf hunting permits: “The bill, sponsored by Rep. Pat Childers, R-Cody, creates an exception to the state’s public records law for people who apply for grey wolf licenses and want their identity kept secret. Childers said he heard reports of wolf hunters elsewhere who were threatened when their names were made public. The bill is now in the House, Travel, Recreation and Wildlife Committee.”
In his Capitol Outlook blog for Wyoming Public Television, Geoffrey O’Gara, inspired by the legislature’s full-of-sound-and- fury posturing on state sovereignty, introduced what he called “The Kerfuffle Watch.” Writes O’Gara: “Now, most everyone has some aspect of federal government that they find intrusive or unwarranted. Of course, they may not always agree which: for some it may be restrictions on gun rights and for others it may be restrictions on abortion rights. Perhaps more important, though, is whether these time-consuming resolutions are an effective way to rock the halls of Congress in Washington D.C. So, we’re instituting the Kerfuffle Watch (“kerfuffle” (Merriam-Webster): a disturbance, a fuss, to become disheveled). Let’s hope not too much time is spent fulminating about rewriting the federal Constitution from Cheyenne, when there are citizens in Wyoming worrying about jobs, educating our kids, health care and keeping our energy revenues flowing.”
Blogging on the same subject, Equality State Policy Center’s Dan Neal wondered how honest Abe would take it all: : “This is the resolution that claims if the state finds the federal government exercises powers the state does not believe it surrendered, the Act of Admission is breached — and Wyoming, presumably, could secede. One wonders what the nation’s great Civil War president, Abraham Lincoln, would think of this resolution.” Meanwhile, Wyoming Public Radio news director Bob Beck has his own insightful blog.
Leading the pack in blogging power is the Casper Star-Tribune. The Casper newspaper not only offers website blogs from Cheyenne bureau reporters Joan Barron and Jeremy Pelzer but also from State Sen. Cale Case (R-Lander) and State Rep. Debbie Hammons (D-Worland). In her Feb 10 blog, Hammons tells of an approach from an aggressive lobbyist: “(the lobbyist) told me that not only would her organization stop my proposed bill, but that their numbers were growing with the advent of the Tea Party in Wyoming. Clearly, from my perspective, she was threatening me.”
Environmental issues are ably addressed in a blog by Richard Garrett Jr., Energy & Legislative advocate for the Wyoming Outdoor Council. From Garrett, for example, we learn that WOC is “neutral” on the controversial wind excise tax proposals from Gov. Dave Freudenthal: “That said, we are probably going to push for a smaller number of turbines as a threshold for triggering the Industrial Siting process. This doesn’t seem unreasonable since a 30-turbine wind farm can occupy as much as 700 acres (or considerably more)…”
The minority Wyoming Democratic Party offers a lively blog. The majority Wyoming Republican Party does not. But Republican Party officials referred a caller to the Cowboy State Free Press whose executive director is Republican State Rep. Sue Wallis of Recluse. More of a Capitol news service than a blog and less-partisan than the Democratic Party blog, the Cowboy State Free Press features timely stories from veteran Cheyenne reporter Phil Noble and others. __Rone Tempest, WyoFile Editor