Getting it Right
This past week I found myself, along with a number of others, in Cheyenne for meetings. Since our State Legislature is in session, most of us also went up to the Capitol to view the Legislature.
Listening to the Senate first, discussing the state budget, was somewhat non-eventful until they started discussing school capital construction funding. To really find out what’s going on, you need to find a committee hearing to listen to. That is, I think, where you’ll find the good discussions. It’s the place where not only the lobbyists, but any interested party, can lobby for their cause. A bill can move on or die a quiet death in these committees, or it can be amended and move forward.
What I’m leading up to is that our legislative process in Wyoming is really open for everyone to be involved, and you can be totally involved in the process from your home or office phone and computer. While it’s easy to sit back and complain about the process, or someone’s position with which you disagree, it is your loss if that happens. A constructive phone call or e-mail to a lobbyist or a legislator is always welcome. From the Governor on down through the legislators, they all want to get the issue right, and for some issues they need the information from you to help with a decision. After all, you may be the one most affected by the decision. Remember, time is on their side. Our legislators can, at the end of a session, move an issue to an interim committee where it will be further discussed, and they can write an improved bill to bring to the next session.
There are always a few issues that start slow, and then seem to jump out in the news. Or, as a bill gains support locally, it can take on a life of its own. One bill that could do that in this session is Senate Bill SF 93, or the Casper Aquifer-land Acquisition. The bill provides $15 million from the General Fund for the State Land Office to acquire the lands east of Laramie that lie over the Casper Aquifer, or the lands needed to protect the aquifer that supplies the city of Laramie and the surrounding area with water. The bill sounds good if you’re the city of Laramie, and the state does provide for water development around the state, but to just ask the state to protect the area with $15 million I think is a little much.
But, when towns get the smell of getting something for nothing they don’t back off. Some say the state may actually save money by acquiring those lands, but the proposal does need more thought.
One sure sign of good leadership in dealing with water was when the Governor initiated the discussion with the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC) to look into providing a water system in the Pavillion area. There are already ample dollars in a WWDC account to build the system and provide good water for all and restore land values. That’s good leadership from the Governor, and we thank him.