A Quick Update from the May Meeting

Seventeen Democrats from across Fremont County came together on Sunday, May 19 at the Hudson Town Hall for food, education and planning. The two-hour meeting included updates from the various committees–executive, promotion, programs, tribal liaison and college relations. Since the launch of the committees last month some have met and have some efforts in the works and few are still struggling to get off the ground. All in attendance were impressed with the amount that we have gotten done in a relatively short amount of time.

Much of our conversation focused on our upcoming event, The Trial of Joe McCarthy. This will be done on Wednesday, June 26.

In 1954, U.S. Senator Lester Hunt of Lander took his own life after being threatened with blackmail by Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy. The Trial is a readers theater presentation based on Rodger McDaniel’s book, Dying for Joe McCarthy’s Sins, The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt. Rodger will be signing books after the trial. Mark your calendars.

Wyoming Outdoor Council staffer, Richard Garrett, updated the Democrats on Wyoming public lands issues.

Wyoming Outdoor Council staffer, Richard Garrett, updated the Democrats on Wyoming public lands issues.

The summer will see Fremont County Democrats out and about. Parades in Lander and Riverton are on the docket as well as events ins some of our smaller Fremont County communities.

Richard Garrett of the Wyoming Outdoor Council spoke to the group about Wyoming public land issues. In a far-ranging conversation the Democrats learned about concerns regarding upcoming development on the Moneta Divide, wind power issues, required baseline testing for drilling operations and House Bill 228 which mandates a study about state takeover of current Federal lands.

Full minutes of the meeting will be posted as soon as they are available.

The next meeting of the Fremont County Democratic Party will be on Sunday, June 23. Riverton attorney, John Vincent will speak with us about workplace safety issues. Read more about John and workplace safety here.

Representative Patrick Goggles’ Legislative Report

At the Sunday, April 21, 2013 meeting of the Fremont County Democratic Party, Representative Patrick Goggles joined the group and presented some of his views on the recently concluded legislative session. The following is his written report that he shared with the members.


62nd General Session Summary Report, by Representative Patrick Goggles

Representative Patrick Goggles

Representative Patrick Goggles

The 62ND General Session is now in the books after a 36 day session, leaving 4 days for the 2014 Budget Session. Like previous sessions, each session has its own signature; the signature of this general session can be summed up as the “Hill Bill”.

Having stated that, the 62nd Session was contentious to say the least, new and current conservative legislators spouting re-election & election commitments, no growth pledges and ultra-conservative ideologies brought stand-your-ground politics to the floor of the Wyoming House. In addition aggressive lobbying by certain special interests and anti-federal sentiment among conservative house members contributed to contentious floor debate and questionable maneuvering tactics by special interests to expose certain members of the Wyoming House as unpatriotic.

During contentious debate House Democrats proved to be effective statesmen, led by experienced & strong leadership, the result was our votes counted and made a difference! Being out numbered on the floor and in committee, democrats performed admirably at all legislative levels including Leadership. As you may or may not know the legislative membership of Republican to Democrat is 52 Republican – 8 Democrats in the WY House of Representatives.

Given the unbalanced legislative representation, democrats have worked with due diligence, non-partisan resolve for the good of Wyoming and under these conditions been effective in terms of the minority voice being articulated loud & clear.

Not all is said and done. There were many issues left on the table. Medicaid expansion for one, domestic partnerships, developmentally Disabled waiting lists & waivers, to name a few.  In terms of Wyoming’s fiscal condition, Legislature leadership & the majority party continues to stockpile savings in deference to the needs of the disadvantaged poor, the uninsured children & elderly, in Wyoming.

The Democratic Caucus as an institutional organization met on Wednesdays, in open meeting, to discuss House Bills & Senate Files to organize an inform ourselves of intent, amendments and voting strategies in standing committee and General Session readings.

On Thursdays, the Democratic Caucus met with Governor Mead at 7am to discuss legislation of mutual interest. Our meetings with the Governor were very productive and healthy for the Democratic Caucus.

On Wednesdays at 6:30am the Fremont County delegation (Reps. Goggles, Larsen, Miller, Campbell & Senators Bebout, and Case & Geis) met to inform each other of individual pending legislation, committee testimony, amendments, possible vote outcomes, positions of legislation and to meet with Fremont County constituents.

I individually did not sponsor a house bill.  I took the lead role in Standing Committee & floor management of HB 21 Peace Officer Immunity and SF 162 Authority to take an Eagle legislation. Both pieces of legislation have been signed into law by Governor Mead.  I did co-sponsored 15 house bills and 3 senate files.

As a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives, I am the longest serving Democrat in the House, serving my 5th term. I serve as a member of the Revenue Committee and Management Council.

I have been appointed House Chairman, Select Committee on Tribal Relations by Speaker Tom Labnau, for the 62nd Wyoming Legislature.

Notable legislative topics – 2013 General Session.

Representative

Representative Goggles making his point.

EDUCATION

SF 104 “Hill Bill” – Education – State Administration

SF 230 School Resource Officers

SF 38 University of Wyoming Board of Trustees

HB 91 – Accountability I

HB 72 – Accountability II

HB 63 Adjunct Professor Initiative Co-sponsor

HB 163 Alternative School

HB 177 Hathaway Success Curriculums

TAX

HB 69 Highway Funding

As a member of House Revenue, HB 69 Highway Funding increased the tax on fuel from 14 cents to 24 cents per gallon. I was an “Aye” vote on the legislation.

HB 98 County Fees – co-sponsor with Rep. Glen Moniz (R) Laramie

As a co-sponsor, county fee schedules increased to represent current cost of doing business. I was an “Aye” on the legislation.

FIREARMS

HB 104 Federal Nullification (opposed)

HB 103 local preemption (opposed)

HB 105 Guns in School (opposed)

HB 216 Deadly weapons in a courtroom (“Aye” vote)

SF 132 Silencers, suppressors and automatic weapons (“No” vote)

HEALTH

HB 68 Wyoming Life Resources Center

The Wyoming Life Resource Center, home of 90 of Wyoming's most vulnerable citizens.

The Wyoming Life Resource Center, home of 90 of Wyoming’s most vulnerable citizens.

I and Rep. Larsen amended this bill on 2nd Reading. “Aye” on the bill on third reading.

SF 60 Medicaid Reform

Democrats attempted to amend the legislation to include “Medicaid Expansion”. Our efforts failed but brought debate to the forefront in terms of those opposed to expansion and those in favor. I was an “Aye” vote to amend in the language of Medicaid Expansion.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

HB 21 Peace Officer Immunity (signed into law)

HB 27 Wind River Law Enforcement (died in Judiciary Committee)

LOTTERY

HB 77 Wyoming Lottery

I was an “Aye” vote on the lottery. The legislation very specifically crafted to power ball and state lottery. No video terminals or scratch tickets. Proceeds to Cities, towns & counties for the first six years then to education.

GAME & FISH

SF 162 – Authorized Taking of an Eagle

As a co-sponsor, legislation amends current statute to authorize the taking of eagles by falconers and by permit issued by USFWS. I was an “Aye” vote of the legislation.

SF 118 Eminent Domain 2 (“No” vote)

HB 228 Transfer of federal lands – study (“No” vote)

HB 81 Large Project Funding (NATURAL RESOURCE FUND)

BUDGET

Supplemental / Reductions

SF 105 School capital construction (K-12)

Appropriations

School Finance – amendments

Submitted by Representative Patrick Goggles

 

 

Your Land in Private Hands: House Bill 228 is a “Gift” From Fremont County Republicans

SONY DSCWhile the attention of many who hunt has been distracted by the shiny object of politics—gun regulations—our Fremont County Republican legislators have been working quietly to change Wyoming’s relationship with the public lands that we love. House Bill 228, “creating a task force on the transfer of federal lands” and “requiring a report from the attorney general on possible legal recourses available to compel the federal government to relinquish ownership and management of specified federal lands,” has flown through both the House and the Senate and now awaits the Governor’s signature.

If that sounds like an attack on our right to recreate on public lands then the membership of the task force prescribed in HB 228 is downright ominous—two members of the Wyoming Senate, two from the House, and then, appointed by the Governor: one county commissioner, an individual from oil and gas, one from mining, one from agriculture and, finally, one from travel and recreation. To further illuminate the true intent of the bill’s authors it specifies that the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy provide advisory support. Not the Ag School. Not the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Just Energy. This does not sound like a balanced study.

Having all of our public lands under state management is not a step forward for wildlife and recreation in Wyoming. Our state land managers are good people who do the best that they can with a limited staff and limited budgets, but as a hunter who enjoys many fall days on public lands the difference between lands managed by the BLM and our state lands is obvious to the eye. Oftentimes, a mere fence line separates over-used state land from federally managed ground with good cover and ample forage. But it gets worse.

If you “look under the hood” of the original House Bill 228 it is even more concerning. The required study would explore the creation of a commission to administer the process for “the state of Wyoming, other entity or private individuals to receive title to formerly federally owned and managed lands from the United States” and “establish procedures and requirements for subjecting formerly federally owned and managed lands to property taxation.” This is not a bill that just looks at switching the management of our public lands from the feds to the state, it is looking at taking the land that you and I hunt, fish and backpack on and turning it over to private interests.

House Bill 228 means less access and poorly managed lands. And we get all of this for the low, low price of $30,000, the cost of the “study.” And of course there is the minor problem of the Feds never having expressed any interest in turning over the land to the state. House Bill 228 is fiscal mismanagement, belligerence and bad policy all in one nice package.

Sadly, this industry land grab has its roots right here in Fremont County. Representative David Miller of Riverton, Representative Lloyd Larsen of Lander and Senator Eli Bebout of Riverton are House Bill 228 co-sponsors. Their Fremont County Republican colleagues—Senators Case and Geis, and Representatives Winters and Campbell—have joined them in voting for this wasteful, quixotic gift to the extractive industries. The only elected official from Fremont County to vote against the bill was Democratic Representative Patrick Goggles.

This second coming of the Sagebrush Rebellion is out of the gate now. If you hunt, fish, ATV or backpack on public lands, beware. Your recreation is under attack.

If you believe public lands belong in public hands, join us, “Turn Fremont Blue.”

Related Story: Casper Star-Tribune: Wyoming may look at ways to manage federal land